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About the award

Information about the Te Puāwaitanga Research Excellence Award

Background of the award

In 2007 Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga held the inaugural Te Puāwaitanga Research Excellence Awards, where they honoured the work of outstanding academics Distinguished Professor Hirini Mead, Emeritus Professor Ranginui Walker, the late Emeritus Professor Bruce Biggs and Sir Hugh Kawharu. The occasion was one to honour and acknowledge leaders who inspire present and future generations. Permission to use the name Te Puāwaitanga for a prestigious award by Royal Society Te Apārangi was gifted by the Co-Directors of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (Professors Linda Smith and Michael Walker) in 2017. Te Puāwaitanga means to blossom/ flower/ come to fruition, and so represents the coming to fruition of the winners' eminent and distinctive contribution to Te Ao Māori, and to Māori and Indigenous knowledge.

Medal design

The design of this award is inspired by Tāne’s quest for knowledge. His assent to the atua realm and subsequent descent is a defining aspect for the design. In Te Ao Māori the acquisition of knowledge should be to use it wisely. The koru based imagery represents knowledge symbolised as in the forest canopy. As it blossoms and spreads it influences all and everything on the land below. This notion of “growing knowledge” is emphasised by the use of the kape (sometimes known as a seed pod motif) found in kōwhaiwhai patterns. This casting is handcrafted with each individual medal displaying its own unique characteristics. A special patina is used to enhance the natural qualities of bronze. Design: Ross Hemera. Casting: George Andrews.