Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey, former Minister of Mäori Affairs Parekura Horomia, and Tüwharetoa Paramount Chief Sir Tumu Te Heuheu in the procession after the ceremony.


Growth in graduate numbers no accident

video-14x44.gif Watch the Te Karere and Te Käea items (contained within broadcast).


Eight new Mäori PhDs, from left: Dr Wayne Ngata,
Dr Jonathan Procter, Dr Hukarere Valentine,
Hope Tupara, Dr Christine Kenney, Dr Will Edwards,
Dr Natasha Tassell and Dr James Graham.


Twenty-two years of ceremonies to honour Mäori graduates at Manawatu were marked this year by reflections on the growth that has occurred in Mäori student numbers and the degrees conferred.

The first of the ceremonies was in 1989. They are now held every year at all three Massey campuses. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Mason Durie recalled that for the first ceremony “there were eight graduates and it took six hours”.

Of the 146 Mäori graduating at the Manawatu campus last week, 62 took part in Friday’s ceremony including eight at doctoral level. “In 2000 we launched a programme that we would have 25 Mäori PhD graduates by the end of 2010," Sir Mason said. "The good news is we will have 55 by the end of the year.”

Guest speaker Dr Wayne Ngata spoke on behalf of the graduates taking part in the ceremony. “For most of us graduating today, it was hard work. Today is about celebrating those things that inspired us to do what we are doing,” Dr Ngata said. “I hope that those who have come across the stage to receive your degrees, diplomas and certificates will inspire our children to do the same.”

Dr Ngata (Te Äitanga ä Hauiti, Ngäti Porou, Ngäti Ira) was awarded a PhD in Mäori studies. His thesis, written in te reo Mäori, explored the use of traditional chants – möteatea – as a mechanism for understanding Mäori philosophy and behaviour. He used case studies involving a community focus on knowledge and innovation to illustrate the influence of these chants on the development of kaupapa Mäori. The findings will help Mäori and non-Mäori alike give better effect to development initiatives for Mäori.

Dr William Edwards (Taranaki, Ngä Ruahine, Tängahoe, Pakakohi, Ngäti Ruanui) completed his PhD in public health. His research investigated the characteristics of Mäori positive ageing using research approaches based on Mäori knowledge and Western science. One of the findings of his research was that Mäori collectives have a critical role to play by promoting an approach to ageing that begins well before old age.

Dr James Graham (Ngäi Te Whatuiapiti, Ngäi Toroiwaho, Ngäti Kahungunu) was awarded a PhD in education. His thesis examined the sustained contribution of Te Aute College – a Mäori boarding school established in 1854, in the Hawke’s Bay – and its former pupils to Mäori advancement. The ethos of the school was seen to have imbued in its students a sense of obligation and contribution to Mäori and to wider society, captured succinctly in the school motto, ‘Whakatangata kia kaha, Quit ye like men, be strong’.

Dr Christine Kenney (Ngäti Toa Rangatira, Te Ätiawa ki Whakarongotai, Ngäi Tahu) became the first Mäori midwife to graduate with a PhD in midwifery last week. Dr Kenney’s research interwove indigenous and European world-views in creating and implementing a research methodology for the midwifery profession. Her research addresses gaps in midwifery, miscarriage-related care, health professional development, Mäori health and health research literature.

Dr Hukarere Valentine (Ngäti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga, Ngäti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa, Taranaki, Ngäti Tüwharetoa, Ngäti Awa, Tuhoe, Ngäi Tahu) became the first Mäori to graduate with a Doctor of Clinical Psychology from Massey last week. Her research explored the relationship between wairua (spirituality as defined by Mäori world-views) and wellbeing. Two studies underpinned her research. The first asked how Mäori conceptualise wairua. From this information a wairua measure was created and used to investigate the relationship between an orientation to wairua and Mäori wellbeing. Results were mixed and further research is necessary.

Dr Jonathan Procter (Muaüpoko, Ngäi Tahu) was awarded a PhD in earth science. The focus of his research was on improving mass-flow hazard assessments at New Zealand volcanoes using a combination of computer models and geological mapping. The study culminated in the production of new dynamic hazard maps in electronic format that are more useful for land-use planners and emergency managers.

Dr Natasha Tassell (Te Ätiawa, Ngäti Makea ki Rarotonga) was awarded a PhD in psychology. Her research examined the effects of different kinds of motivation on wellbeing. Questionnaires and interviews were used to look specifically at the development of burnout in humanitarian health workers. The findings could be used in the design and implementation of recruitment strategies for these workers, as well as programmes aimed at the treatment and prevention of burnout, both pre- and post-deployment.

Dr Hope Tupara (Ngäi Tämanuhiri, Rongowhakaata, Ngäi Te Rangihouhiri) conducted a retrospective study that investigated the decision experience of three whänau, in the context of their participation in genetic research for more than 10 years to investigate a medical condition affecting their health. Dr Tupara was awarded a PhD in health science and argues that the New Zealand health sector, health legislation, and policies limit the nature of engagement by whänau in decision-making, despite it being an overall objective of government health policy.

The Wellington campus ceremony to honour Mäori graduates will be held on May 28 at Te Kuratini Marae. At the conclusion of that ceremony more than 380 Mäori will have graduated from the University’s three campuses.

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