He is known as a builder of transformative initiatives and tonight Professor Graham Smith was honoured at the Matariki Awards for his contribution towards education.
Smith, of Ngāti Apa, Ngāti, Kahungunu, Te Aitanga a Hauiti and Kāti Māmoe was awarded the Te Ururangi Award for Education.
His commitment to Māori education is reflected by his appointment as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori) at Massey University. He has been a key figure in the development of kaupapa Māori theorising, which has had a significant impact in New Zealand and international indigenous settings.
Smith was also made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and to education in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours and in 2017 was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for lifetime achievement in education.
The Te Ururangi Award for Education acknowledges a significant contribution to the development of Mātauranga Māori or the Māori knowledge sector.
Finalist Evelyn Tobin. Source: File
Other finalists for the award tonight included Evelyn Tobin and Dr Kathie Irwin.
After developing numerous NCEA assessments and resources, Tobin is one of the key drivers of revitalising tribal dialects in the North and co-founder of Te Reo o Te Taitokerau tribal language wānanga.
Irwin is a passionate advocate of Māori education, research and development and currently the head of Māori and Cultural Capability at ACC.
She has been a champion and advocate for mana wāhine, mentoring and coaching wāhine Māori throughout the motu.