Scholar, dreamer, rabble-rouser - now Emeritus Professor

4 May 2018

Dr Te Awekotuku, at the conferment ceremony.

Professor Ngahuia Te Awekotuku was the first Māori woman to earn a PhD in Aotearoa. It was conferred by University of Waikato in 1981, and now she has come full-circle with the University naming her Emeritus Professor.

Professor Te Awekotuku MNZM is an academic, author of fiction and non-fiction, an arts curator and critic, performer and activist who has given outstanding service to the humanities-aronui for more than 40 years.

Her degrees are in Art History, English and Psychology and her work and activism centres on tikanga Māori, cultural heritage, power and powerlessness, racism, gender and sexual rights, death and ritual, spirituality and creative expression.

Her versatility means she has presented across a range of academic platforms and conferences, including women’s studies, indigenous psychology, health, and museum and cultural heritage. She remains a very public intellectual.

University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley conferred the honour on Professor Te Awekotuku this week, during a ceremony filled with warmth, laughter, and acknowledgment of the line of strong Māori women and intellectuals she continues to embody.

Professor Te Awekotuku told those gathered it was an extraordinary moment in her life as a scholar, an activist, a rabble-rouser, a dreamer, a troublemaker. “I am aware that this belongs to all of us, and it particularly belongs to all those who nudged me along, who never lost faith in me, and that made sure I got here.”

She also paid tribute to those coming after her. “None of us would be here without our students, I thank you most of all, as that is the reason University of Waikato exists.”

Drawing laughter from the crowd, Professor Te Awekotuku said she did not want to get political, but hopes that many more of young people will come to the University, and follow their dreams. “That there will be a place for them. And that particularly in disciplines like psychology and indigenous studies, those places remain safe, secure and absolute.”

Related stories

Tauranga student Ben Grindrod is presented with the inaugural University of Waikato Squash Scholarship by Dudley Bell.

New squash scholarship served up to Tauranga student

Tauranga student Ben Grindrod is the inaugural recipient of the University of Waikato Squash Scholarship.

Generous scholarships up for grabs at new Tauranga campus

The future looks bright for tertiary students opting to study in the Bay, thanks to…

University of Waikato’s rankings rise in Asia-Pacific

Continuing our strong performance in international rankings, the University of Waikato has risen to #65…

Scholarship to unlock secrets of climate change

Master of Science (Research) student Ingrid Lindeman was recently awarded the William Georgetti Scholarship to…

PhD student scores new scholarship to support elite rugby athletes

PhD student Conor McNeill may be specialising in fatigue monitoring in rugby union but there’ll…

Country’s most comprehensive study of breast cancer highlights inequities

Professor Ross Lawrenson and his team have spent three years looking at how to improve…

University of Waikato continues rise up QS World rankings

Outstanding research and international student recruitment drive University of Waikato higher in world rankings

Waikato Honorary Doctors get “Topp” Honour

The University of Waikato is proud to congratulate Hon Doc recipients Jools and Lynda Topp…

Scholarship provides new opportunities for Waitaha students

Young people of the Waitaha iwi will have the opportunity to gain the ultimate all-round…

New research project set to invest $13 million in the Bay of Plenty

A new University of Waikato research project will bring together a world-class team of researchers…

From Waikato to leading the world in Artificial General Intelligence

Dr Shane Legg started out with a Dick Smith’s computer for his 10th birthday, now…

Cellist Matthias Balzat and sportswoman Stacey Waaka.

Sir Edmund Hillary Medal awardees announced

Cellist Matthias Balzat and and all-rounder Stacey Waaka given prestigious award.