Sir Haare Williams: Services to Māori, literature and education recognised with Knighthood

By Kelvin McDonald
Photo / File

The distinguished broadcaster, educator, poet and artist is to become Sir Haare Williams (Ngāi Tūhoe and Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki) after he was appointed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2023 New Year Honours.

Sir Haare was recognised for his services to Māori, literature and education.

A former Dean of Māori Education and Māori Advisor to the Chief Executive at Unitec, Sir Haare has utilised storytelling and Māori traditions of oral literature to explore narratives of journeys, failures, triumphs, losses and gains embodied in whakapapa.

Inspired by his love of language, he published his first book titled ‘Words of a Kaumātua’ in 2019, touching on his childhood and issues stemming from inequality in New Zealand. The book won the te reo Māori category of the 2020 Society of Authors’ Heritage Book Awards.

Sir Haare was a pioneer in Māori broadcasting as the General Manager of Aotearoa Radio and established a joint venture with the South Seas Film and Television School to train te reo speakers as producers and operators in film and television.

He co-founded the New Zealand Māori Artists and Writers Association, later Ngā Puna Waihanga, and was the inaugural President for nine years.

Sir Haare is Kaumātua of the Kotahi Rau Pukapuka initiative launched in 2019, which aims to produce 100 great books in te reo Māori.

He has been Amorangi at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, has worked closely with iwi claimant communities and was a cultural advisor for mayors of Auckland.

Sir Haare was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2018 for his services to Māori, the arts and education.