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Ngā Ahurei a Te Apārangi

In 2019, Tā Tipene O’Regan was recognised as a Companion of Royal Society Te Apārangi at the Research Honours Aotearoa. In his speech, delivered by his daughter Dr Hana O’Regan, he commented that Te Apārangi is now rediscovering its history with iwi Māori, reconnecting and strengthening relationships, rediscovering commitments, sharpening thinking, and rethinking processes that recognise and celebrate excellence. We are on this journey of transformation together – Tūwhitia te hopo, mairangatia te angitū feel the fear and do it anyway.

This is not a new journey, but one formed out of a culmination of voices and a deliberate partnership with key iwi figures. All gave the Society a wero challenge to be better, to be broader and to be bolder.  Our then President Richard Bedford formally accepted a challenge in 2017 at Waipapa Marae Auckland, and our current President Wendy Larner, Council members and senior staff continue to reshape and evolve Te Apārangi so we are better placed to build the relationships we need for our shared future.

As many New Zealanders gathered at the bridge to the Treaty grounds on a beautiful clear dawn this year on the 180th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, those attending from Te Apārangi reflected on how many non-Māori were joining, participating in the address, the acknowledgement and the amplification of Waitangi 180.

Many Māori including academics, researchers and tertiary learners have crossed over that bridge into a Western dominated non-Māori world.  They understand what it means to be in that space and culture.  There has not been the same numbers who have been forthcoming, making the journey back over the bridge to experience te ao Māori, the Māori worldview and to address the inequities and tensions that exist.  

Te Apārangi continues to seek ambitious ways, as we did with ngā iwi from Tūranga-a-Kiwa and their TUIA 250 mahi, for the Society to recongise mātauranga, rangahau and hautūtanga leadership as well as Māori notions of excellence in research disciplines in te ao Māori – to cross that bridge.

In this year’s Fellowship selection process, we will reframe these processes to capture Māori voices and excellence alongside our usual Western-dominated disciplines.  We want to be highly visible to our Māori fellows, academics and researchers. The sector, their hapori communities and whānau will have greater confidence that Royal Society Te Apārangi – the Academy Executive Committee, Council and operational management has capacity, the processes and ability to capture multiple form of excellence focused on three areas:

  • Whakamārama The Address – Illuminate and enlighten the Fellowship processes to recognise different notions of excellence in disciplines and in te ao Māori
  • Whakamana The Acknowledgement –  Empowering the practice and principles of excellence in a discipline and in te ao Māori
  • Whakanui The Amplification – Celebration of our ability to address the future for all.

Te Apārangi will take this framework into the Fellowship selection process – its procedures, its panel compositions and preparation, its new Fellows' induction with the overt understanding that excellence comes in different forms.

In 2040, Te Apārangi has a vision that at the 200th commemoration of our Academy we will be flowing freely over that bridge.  Kia kaha be strong kia kaha be well.