Dr Wayne Ngata has been named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his continuous contribution to Māori and education.
Dr Ngata (Ngāti Ira, Ngāti Porou, Te Aitanga a Hauiti) is active in the revitalisation of te reo Māori and education models that are underpinned by Māori processes, and is also a specialist in Māori literature and a long-time advocate for Māori art.
He helped establish Māori Studies at the Tairāwhiti Polytechnic (now EIT Tairāwhiti) in the 1990s. Together with Te Aitanga a Hauiti, he has developed strong working and research relationships with regional, national and international institutions in the areas of indigenous art knowledge.
Dr Ngata is a practitioner, composer and advocate for haka and mōteatea. He is a practitioner of waka hourua navigation and voyaging, participating in the Te Waka Tapu voyage from New Zealand to Rapanui, and in 2019 had a leadership role in the Tuia 250 commemorative events in New Zealand.
He has helped develop health programmes with a Māori approach, including the Atua Matua Māori Health Framework and The Horouta Collective for Te Hauora o Te Aitanga o Hauiti.
He has had several academic, management and governance roles at EIT Tairawhiti, the MacDiarmid Institute, the Ministry of Education, Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiārangi, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
Dr Ngata is a board member of Te Kura ā-Iwi o Mangatuna and the Tertiary Education Commission, and board chair of Te Taumata Aronui.