Dominance at NZARE awards

20 November 2015

Smith, Linda March 2012 for web

Professor Linda Smith, winner of the 2015 McKenzie Award for significant contribution to educational research.

University of Waikato academics featured large at the 2015 New Zealand Association of Research Education (NZARE) awards.

Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith won the McKenzie Award, following in the footsteps of many other Waikato researchers. The award honours a significant contribution to educational research over an extended period, acknowledging a contribution to new knowledge and being an exemplary researcher in the education community in a chosen discipline.

Professor Smith’s significant, sustained and diverse contribution to educational research has been highly influential in policy development and educational practice in Aotearoa. She has been instrumental in the Kaupapa Māori educational movement and the revitalisation of te reo and tikanga.

Professor Smith’s ground-breaking work focused on indigenous education and has inspired and empowered indigenous peoples throughout the world. Her text “Decolonizing methodologies: Indigenous peoples and research”, is considered a seminal text for indigenous scholars. In addition, her work has been integral to the creation of the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education and the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Dr Leonie Pihama, Director of Te Kotahi Research Institute at the University of Waikato, received this year’s Te Tohu Pae Tawhiti Award. It’s awarded to researchers who have made a significant contribution to Maori education over an extended period.

Her research intersects fields of education, Maori immersion education, health and whānau well-being.

Dr Pihama’s played a critical role in the emergence of kaupapa Māori and in particular kaupapa Māori theory with an emphasis on mana wahine.

She also has a focus on capacity building and working with Waikato-Tainui Research and Development College has supported kaupapa Māori theory and research training for more than 230 people in the last two years.

Her work is also acknowledged offshore. She was the recipient of the inaugural Fulbright-Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Scholar Award, which took her to Washington, and she has hosted two highly regarded international indigenous research conferences. One of Dr Pihama’s strengths is that she has taken her Māori knowledge and Māori education away from academia and into whānau, hapu, iwi and communities.

And the awards keep on coming.  The NZARE Group Award for 2015 went to the Te Kotahitanga Research and Professional Development Team. Team members include Emeritus Professor Russell Bishop, Associate Professor Mere Berryman, Therese Ford, Margaret Egan, Dawn Lawrence, Te Arani Barrett, Iti Joyce and Robbie Lamont.

The team has worked over the years to implement culturally responsive provision for Māori students in New Zealand secondary schools. Te Kotahitanga has had a major impact on Māori students’ levels of engagement and achievement, therefore reducing educational disadvantage and disparity. Together the team has published more than 250 books, articles, theses and research outputs, and its work has attracted attention overseas; the team is seen as innovative and a leader in the field of indigenous learning, using theory and evidence to inform practice.

One member of the Te Kotahitanga team is Dawn Lawrence and she picked up the NZARE Rae Munro Award, given for excellence in a masters-level thesis in an area that has implications for teacher education or classroom practice.

Judges said her thesis was a well written, well-structured and methodologically rigorous dissertation that clearly meets the high values specified by the award.

Ms Lawrence’s thesis explored how the implementation of a Te Kotahitanga Professional Development cycle supported six secondary school teachers to position themselves discursively within a culturally responsive pedagogy of relations, and the implications this had on their agency to address the disparities that exist for Māori within New Zealand mainstream secondary education. The thesis richly demonstrated principles such as the urge to enquire, concern for others and the desire for self-respect.