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Ngā Wai a Te Tūī champion mana wahine and matauranga Māori

  • Ngā Wai a Te Tūī champion mana wahine and matauranga Māori

Ngā Wai a Te Tūī are celebrating the arrival of their latest whānau member Dr Cat (Catherine) Mitchell who’s devoted 15 years of her career to supporting Unitec students in post graduate study.

A secondment opportunity with Ngā Wai a Te Tūī provided a pathway for Catherine to maintain her passion of supporting tauira while empowering efforts to highlight the mana of kaupapa Māori research.

“A big part of my longstanding interest is supporting our tauira, all tauira, especially Māori at Masters level and I hope to help contribute to supporting the academic writing around Ngā Wai a Te Tūī research.”

While she’s still settling in with her new whānau, Cat says she’s honoured to be a part of a team dedicated to revitalising matauranga Māori and empowering Māori communities. She’s also  commited to maintaining the manaakitanga of the information and kōrero gathered throughout the projects.

“You have to organise, you have to read, you have to think and sometimes you have to talk with, and listen a lot to those you are working with, there is a lot of checking back with co-researchers and communities and colleagues and you have to take a lot of care to get things right.”

Cat says her first wānanga in her new role will drill down into the findings of a project focused on architecture and housing from a kaupapa Māori perspective.

“I’m still finding my way around but it’s exciting to be a part of a kaupapa that can help broaden an understanding of the true benefits of matauranga and kaupapa Māori driven projects.”

Working in such a highly regarded space led and surrounded by wāhine Māori was another big draw card for Cat.

“15 years ago, I never would have imagined a place like Ngā Wai a Te Tūī being a part of Unitec and having the opportunity to be a part of this mahi and work with the people and community groups involved is amazing.”

In true mana wahine style Ngā Wai a Te Tūī are preparing to welcome Dr Hinekura Smith and Senior Research fellow Nalani Wilson Hokowhitu Ōiwi (Native Hawaiian) to their ranks.

Dr Smith is a highly regarded kaupapa Māori education researcher interested in the continued reclamation and revitalisation of Māori language, culture and identity through education – particularly for Māori women and children.

Nalani Wilson Hokowhitu Ōiwi (Native Hawaiian) is an acclaimed scholar of Critical Pacific and Indigenous Studies, curator, storyteller and artist.

Cat says she looks forward to supporting the kaupapa and learning more about the people and projects Ngā Wai a Te Tūī are championing.

“What could be better than supporting Māori communities and working alongside Māori researchers and making an authentic contribution to our people.”

Dr Hinekura Smith will be welcomed into the whānau on the 14th of June followed by Nalani Wilson Hokowhitu who joins the team next month.


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