Dame Georgina Kingi (Ngāti Pukeko, NgātI Awa) has been awarded Te Ururangi Award for Education at the Matariki Awards 2017.
Te Ururangi Award for Education is special recognition of the extraordinary contribution, sacrifice and commitment of an individual in the New Zealand education sector.
The honour recognises Dame Georgina Kingi’s decades of work championing quality education and the teaching of Māori language and culture at the college in a career spanning nearly 50 years.
Kingi is the principal and visionary of St Joseph’s Māori Girls’ College in Napier, she has taught at the school since 1969 and principal since 1987.
Under her leadership, ‘Miss Kingi’ has seen generations of smart, confident, young Māori women through the school's doors but she is not expecting the dame-hood will change how she is known in the St Joseph's community.
Many of them credit her for being an influential figure when it came to their success; some of her past students include the likes of Whirimako Black, Moana Maniapoto and Hinewehi Mohi.
"I would be very surprised if there was a change in title especially with the past pupils and whānau," she said. "I think it will business as usual and 'Miss' as usual."
In 1993, Dame Georgina was awarded the New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal and – in 2004 – a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order for Public Services.
Rated the top girls' school in Hawke's Bay in 2012, St Joseph’s is celebrating its 150th jubilee in 2017.