Ngā Pūrongo o ia Tari Māori: Reflections on research, teaching, and other developments in Te Tumu
Reilly, Michael (2008) Ngā Pūrongo o ia Tari Māori: Reflections on research, teaching, and other developments in Te Tumu. In: Te Kāhui Kura Māori (Schools of Māori Studies Assembly), Wellington.
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At the inaugural Te Kāhui Kura Māori conference held at Waikato University in 2007 I reviewed our present School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies at Otago University since the establishment of a Māori Studies department in 1990. During its foundational years under Godfrey and Toroa Pōhatu the School was characterised by a large number of students who kept the teaching staff busy. There was only an undergraduate curriculum. Most of the academic staff were underqualified, with only Bachelors’ degrees, and as a consequence there was very little in the way of a research culture. Much attention however was devoted to good community links as part of the department’s culture. From 1996 Tania Ka`ai addressed her energies to developing a research informed teaching department, with postgraduate degrees, a staff increasingly characterised by the possession of doctorates, and a stronger culture of publications. This took some 10 years of very hard work by all the staff concerned. While linkages were developed with other indigenous scholars in the Pacific and North America, the relationship with more local communities, including the mana whenua, appears to have atrophied. In 2009 the School enters a new phase with the appointment of a new Dean and Professor of Māori Studies, Paul Tapsell. Likely developments include additions to the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum, further internationalisation of both teaching and research, the creation of new strategic alliances with other centres of indigenous research, and a reaffirmation of the importance of mana whenua in the life of the School.
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