The tenth annual Te Amorangi National Māori Academic Excellence Awards ceremony acknowledging the most recent Māori PhD graduates was held in Kirikiriroa in March.
A lifetime achievement award named in honour of Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu was presented by Kingi Tuheitia to Inia Te Wiata, and 39 award recipients from across the motu were acknowledged in a ceremony that is about more than an individual achievement.
Waikato University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor Māori, Dr Linda Smith said “These graduates are our future leaders; their success will resonate at a whānau, hapū, and iwi level, and the collective benefits will be shared by generations to come.”
Gail Campbell, Te Puni Kōkiri Regional Director for Waikato, said: “I want to underscore Linda’s point because with increased achievement, more Māori will participate in the Māori economy and the wider New Zealand economy. The flow on effects will benefit their whānau, hapū, iwi, and all New Zealanders.
“Put even more simply – what is good for Māori, is good for New Zealand. And Māori can do so much good for Aotearoa/New Zealand,” said Gail.
The awards event was first held in 2002 following a discussion amongst Māori academics that there was a need to recognise and celebrate those of Māori descent who had achieved the pinnacle of academic success. Since then, 289 Māori PhD graduates have received the award.
For many years Māori have promoted and marked the successes of sporting athletes and entertainers and there was a definite gap in the academic arena.
“Te Puni Kōkiri is proud to support Te Amorangi National Māori Academic Awards, which puts the spotlight on academic success, a real key to a positive future for Māori,” Gail added.
A full list of recipients can be found on the Kōkiri facebook page.