Two University of Waikato academics were honoured at the Royal Society Te Apārangi awards last night.
Royal Society Te Apārangi Research Honours recognise researchers in New Zealand who have achieved excellence in scholarship or innovation, or who have made a significant contribution to Aotearoa through their research and career.
University of Waikato Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Professor Bryony James, says she is enormously proud of Dr Moana Waitoki and Dr Melissa Derby who were presented with awards at an event in Hamilton, the first of three presentations being held around the country.
Dr Waikaremoana Waitoki: 2022 Te Puāwaitanga Research Excellence Award
Dr Waikaremoana Waitoki has been recognised by the Royal Society Te Apārangi as winner of the 2022 Te Puāwaitanga Research Excellence Award, in recognition of eminent and distinctive contribution to Te Ao Māori, and to Māori and Indigenous knowledge for indigenising the psychology profession.
With intentional space-making for Māori and indigenous values, Moana has been a driving force behind curriculum development. She has brought mātauranga Māori, te ao Māori and kaupapa Māori approaches together as an alternative to eurocentric psychology practices. Her exceptional contribution affords psychologists opportunities to learn and to choose tikanga Māori in their practices. The Whiti te Rā and the Mauri Ora Toko models are being used to address mental health and addiction issues, intergenerational trauma, and to develop resilience and enhanced wellbeing for tamariki experiencing emotional issues.
Moana is a Senior Lecturer in Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies with interests in mātauranga Māori, health/hauora and Māori wellbeing and the social determinants of health. She is also the President of the New Zealand Psychological Society, an advisory member of the Suicide Prevention Office, and a member of the Film and Literature Classifications Review Board.
Dr Melissa Derby: 2022 Te Kōpūnui Māori Research Award
Dr Melissa Derby (Ngāti Ranginui) has been awarded co-winner of the Royal Society Te Apārangi Te Kōpūnui Māori Research Award for early career researchers in recognition of innovative Māori research with a high standard of excellence and a promising trajectory.
Melissa’s research is aimed at strengthening bilingual preschool children’s early literacy skills in te reo Māori and English. In her award-winning doctoral study, she drew from Māori oral traditions and teaching approaches to co-create a culturally-responsive literacy programme. She used her findings to co-write Talking Together: He Korerorero, an early childhood resource that strengthens kaiako and whanau practice in fostering early literacy skills.
Melissa’s work focuses on the importance of early literacy in young children and she works closely with whānau to encourage in-home learning and the development of foundational literacy skills.
A Senior Lecturer teaching early literacy and human development at the University of Waikato's Tauranga campus and online, Melissa is also co-Director of the Early Years Research Centre at the University of Waikato, and co-Editor of the New Zealand Association for Research in Education's blog, Ipu Kererū.