Academic honour earned by Māori rugby legend

By Stefan Dimitrof

Rugby legend Dr Farah Palmer (Ngāti Maniapoto, Waikato) has spent more than 20 years advancing ākonga Māori success at Massey University and in recognition, she has now been promoted to professor and appointed Pou Ākonga (Executive Director) Māori student success.

Palmer told teaomaō she's still getting used to the addition of professor to the start of her name but said she was humbled by the promotion.

“This is an opportunity to go across the whole university and see if I can help.”

Palmer said that she was fortunate to have such access to Māori mentors who preceded her at Massey University, mentioning specifically Sir Mason Durie. “He had a huge impact on me.

“All of my colleagues in the business school have all really had an impact on me.”

Palmer started her career at Massey after completing her PhD teaching sports sociology and then moved more into focusing on leadership all while still playing rugby and being a mother.

Palmer said Massey had implemented many programmes to support Māori and provide better outcomes for them while “bringing up a family or contributing to their iwi or hapū”.

“You know when they walk across that stage, you know everyone is proud of them. We can do something for those students who want to reach the top of the maunga.”