Māori educators recognised for shaping generations

By Kimiora Kaire-Melbourne

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 principal and visionary of St Joseph’s Māori Girls’ College, Dame Georgina Kingi, is a recipient of this award, acknowledging her exceptional services to Māori and education in 2016.

Kingi – a teacher at the school since 1969 and principal since 1987 – became a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit this year.

Under her leadership, ‘Miss Kingi’ has seen generations of smart, confident, young Māori women through the school's doors. Many of them credit her for being an influential figure when it came to their success

Professor Robert (Bob) Jahnke is also a finalist in this section.

A Professor of Māori Visual Arts at Massey University’s Whiti o Rehua School of Art, Professor Robert (Bob) Jahnke was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori art and education in the 2016 Honours list.

Considered one of New Zealand’s leading contemporary Māori artists, Professor Jahnke is a highly respected educator who works as an historian, teacher, researcher, writer and advocate for Māori and indigenous arts nationally and internationally.

Associate Dean (Māori) Joanne Baxter was nominated in this category as well. She is the director of the Māori Health Workforce Development Unit at the University of Otago.

The largest number of Māori medical students in New Zealand’s history – a total of 45 – graduated from Otago University in December 2016.

The unit is committed to significantly growing the Māori health workforce in New Zealand and the university expects at least this number of Māori doctors to graduate each year from now on.

The winner of this category will be announced tonight at the Matariki Awards, to be held at the Auckland Museum.