University of Waikato lecturer Dr Ēnoka Murphy is the recipient of a prestigious Te Whatu Kairangi – Aotearoa Tertiary Educator Award, recognising him as a te reo Māori champion and unique and outstanding teacher.
Te Whatu Kairangi celebrates outstanding tertiary educators who are making a difference to learners, their whānau and communities. Dr Murphy (Ngāti Manawa, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Ruapani and Ngāti Kahungunu) is among 26 awardees celebrated this year across 11 different awards.
He received the kaupapa Māori award, recognising his long-standing commitment to the reclamation of te reo Māori and his teaching talent which recognises students’ unique attributes, allowing him to engage them in spaces that could otherwise seem alien and unwelcoming.
The awards cite his influence that radiates across academic, whānau, hapū and iwi contexts and his long-standing commitment to the reclamation of te reo Māori and the requirements of the Treaty partnership across his work at the University and broader communities.
He is also recognised for maintaining a high level of teaching and mentorship, holding steadfast to the mātauranga Māori values and aspirations that he embodies.
“Dr Murphy recognises the unique attributes that students bring to the classroom that are not typically recognised in the tertiary sector and leverages off those to engage them into spaces that would otherwise seem foreign,” the award citation states.
Students say Dr Murphy is an outstanding and unique teacher, valued for his “teaching techniques, patience, charisma, and … devotion to te reo Māori”. One student paid tribute to him as “…A very kind human being, who touches the lives of many, he is beyond a teacher. He is a rangatira for te ao Māori”.
He will receive the award at a celebratory event at Parliament on 26 September where the Minister of Education will acknowledge their work and announce one recipient as the winner of the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award.