The Royal Society Te Apārangi has awarded Professor Ngahuia te Awekotuku the Pou Aronui Award for her outstanding service to humanities-aronui.
The awards selection committee noted that her original scholarship, sustained service to national organizations, and enduring commitment to indigenous culture and heritage have continuously pushed boundaries.
Professor te Awekotuku has an extensive connection to the University of Waikato, including receiving her PhD from the University – becoming the first Māori woman to earn a doctorate in New Zealand. She is currently an Honorary Research Associate with the School of Psychology.
She is an acclaimed author of award winning research and works of fiction and poetry, recognized arts curator and critic, and stalwart of Writer’s Festivals locally and overseas. She helped to establish Women’s Studies as an academic discipline at Waikato, and was at the vanguard of change at Waikato Museum. The award is a tribute to her work and personal commitment to blazing a path for indigenous culture, heritage and feminist scholarship, for over 40 years.
On receiving the award, Professor te Awekotuku said she is humbled and thrilled by this honour. “I think of all the women who helped me along the way. My grandmother, my mother, my aunties, my cousins, my baby sister Vicki, my partner Waimarie, my teachers, my creative and activist friends; I thank them all.”
She acknowledges Dame Te Atairangikaahu and Professor James Ritchie as incredibly important mentors, part of the University’s history, and her own.