Tā Mason Durie to receive Honorary Doctorate

By Regan Paranihi

Renowned Māori health Professor, Emeritus Professor Sir Mason Durie, will be presented with an honorary doctorate in Health at a graduation ceremony in Palmerston North today.

Sir Durie (Rangitāne, Ngāti Kauwhata, Ngāti Raukawa) has played key roles in the establishment of Te Pūmanawa Hauora, the Māori Health Research Centre in 1993 followed by the Wellington-based Sleep/Wake Research Centre in 1998, the formation of the Centre of Public Health Research in 2000 and the establishment of the Whāriki Research Centre in Auckland in 2002.

He also helped establish the School of Māori Studies at Massey University, Te Pūtahi-a-Toi, in which he led for 14 years before being appointed the first Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Māori) for Massey University.

Among his many successes in fostering Māori-focused health education, research, and training, in 1999 he also facilitated a partnership with the Ministry of Health to establish Te Rau Puawai, which continues to provide up to 100 scholarships a year for students studying health-related subjects.

College of Humanities and Social Sciences Pro Vice-Chancellor Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley, who put forward the honorary doctorate nomination, says that Sir Mason belongs among the two generations of "ground-breaking" Māori in modern New Zealand.

“Sir Mason's influence was the most comprehensive and powerful.” 

Sir Durie says this honour is not just for him to celebrate but also for those people who have been a part of his journey.

"The accolades are deserved by a wide group including colleagues, students, those working on marae and within their communities over a long period of time." 

In 2017, Sir Mason Durie was announced as the winner of the Te Toi o Ngā Rangi Lifetime Achievement Award at Māori Television's annual Matariki Awards ceremony.