Eminent Education Leader Appointed to Top Post at Waikato University

9 March 2007
Internationally renowned researcher in Māori and indigenous education, Professor Linda Tuhiwai Te Rina Smith (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Porou) has been appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor (Māori) at the University of Waikato.

Professor Linda Tuhiwai Te Rina Smith

Professor Smith, who holds a Chair in Education at The University of Auckland and is joint director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (Horizons of Insight), the National Institute of Research Excellence in Māori Development and Advancement, will take up the Waikato position later this year.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Waikato, Professor Roy Crawford, and the University's Kaumatua, Hare Puke, joined in congratulating Professor Smith on her appointment.

"The University is extremely fortunate to have someone of Professor Smith's calibre take up this important role. Her work in the field of Māori education, and indigenous people's education generally, is renowned both here in New Zealand and internationally," they said.

"Her leadership as Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori, and her contribution to research and teaching at Waikato, will be immensely valuable to the University, students and the wider community. We look forward to working alongside her."

They also thanked Professor Tamati Reedy, the outgoing Pro Vice-Chancellor (Māori) for his significant contribution to the University. Professor Reedy has been a member of the senior management team at the University and has been responsible for a number of major innovations in regard to the education of Māori students.

Professor Smith has a strong interdisciplinary research and teaching background, primarily in the field of education, including Māori and indigenous education, and the sociology and history of education.

Her book, "Decolonising Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples", received international attention and is now used as a text across a range of disciplines and institutions. It has been translated into Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Italian and Bhasa Indonesian.

Many of Professor Smith's publications are credited with having helped to create the academic field of Māori and indigenous education. She is highly sought after as a speaker and has delivered a large number of international keynote addresses.

She has served on many influential national committees and commissions, as well as helping to drive a number of community-based initiatives in Māori education from Te Kōhanga Reo (the pre-school Language Nest) to the alternative schooling system of Kura Kaupapa Māori and the Māori tertiary provider, Te Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.

With her colleague and husband, Professor Graham Smith, she developed the first undergraduate and graduate courses on Māori Education and Indigenous Education to be taught at a New Zealand university.

Topics, which included the history and politics of Māori education, curriculum and pedagogical issues, language regeneration, gender issues and research methodologies, are now taught as part of the core curriculum in departments of education at every university, polytechnic and college of education in New Zealand.

Professor Smith's PhD in education was conferred by The University of Auckland in 1996. In 1998, she was awarded Te Tohu Pae Tawhiti, the New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE) Inaugural Award for Research Excellence in Māori Education. She also received the NZARE 1998 Jean Herbison Lecture Award and a Churchill Fellowship in 1991.

She is currently Deputy Chair of the Council of Te Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, a member of the Advisory Committee for Official Statistics New Zealand, and a member of the Māori Reference Group for the Tertiary Education Commission.

From 2001-2004, she chaired the Māori Tertiary Education Reference Group responsible for advising the Ministry of Education on operational strategy for Māori tertiary education.

She has served on many other bodies, including as a member of the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission (TEAC), advising the Minister of Tertiary Education on the shape of the tertiary education system for New Zealand.