Waikato University honours art and social commentator

26 June 2009
The University of Waikato is conferring an Honorary Doctorate on author and social history commentator Hamish Keith.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says Keith, who in 2007 opened New Zealand art history to an even wider audience through his television series and companion book The Big Picture, will receive the university's most prestigious award, for his very significant contribution to New Zealand as a social and cultural historian.

"As an early driver of the Te Maori exhibition, a former chairman of the Arts Council, and a passionate defender of the concept that we are 'all in one waka', Hamish Keith brings a wealth of knowledge and a passion for communication to his roles as author, social commentator and New Zealander," Prof Crawford says.

"Bestowing an Honorary Doctorate on Hamish Keith is recognition of a man who has spent a lifetime engaged with the arts and with the cultural history of New Zealand."

Prof Crawford says Waikato University has a particular commitment to Maori and Pacific development. "We acknowledge Hamish Keith's determination that Maori art should have its proper place in the mainstream of New Zealand culture as an evolving and developing art."

An honorary doctorate degree can be awarded to a person who has been of outstanding service to the nation through activities consistent with the University of Waikato's charter, vision and strategic goals. It must be approved by the University Council, which is headed by former Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Jim Bolger.

Hamish Keith joins strong group of literary honorary doctors from Waikato University, including Michael King, Janet Frame and Margaret Mahy.

His doctorate will be conferred at a Waikato University graduation ceremony in October.