“Indigenizing the University of Auckland” by Dr. Margaret Mutu

Dr. Margaret Mutu is of Ngāti Kahu, Te Rarawa and Ngāti Whātua and Scottish descent. She is the Head and Professor of the Department of Māori Studies at the University of Auckland. She delivered this lecture on Indigenizing the University of Auckland on May 9, 2013 as part of a Peter Wall Institute International Roundtable held at the University of British Columbia entitled Place, Belonging and Promise: Indigenizing the International Academy.

Māori studies was first taught at the University of Auckland, New Zealand in 1951 against a backdrop of strong Pākehā (European) resistance to its inclusion in the academy. Today it is taught from its own small and marginalized department in the Faculty of Arts, and in similar units in the Medical School and in the School of Education. Individual Māori academic staff hold positions in several other teaching and research units and there are six Māori research facilities. Yet Māori student enrollments are only half what they should be, Māori staff numbers are a third and Māori student course and degree completion rates are far less than those of non-Māori. This most unsatisfactory state of affairs is the result of all Māori aspects of the UoA being subject to Pākehā hegemony and hence control.

In this lecture, Dr. Mutu provides an overview of what an indigenized UoA might look like before considering the history of Māori studies at UoA and the current situation in terms of governance, management, research and teaching. She briefly considers the pros and cons of teaching and conducting research in Māori and/or Indigenous studies in a Pākehā institution before considering some strategies for achieving the indigenization of the UoA.