Large Pōwhiri expected for new professor

Press Release – University of Auckland

Large Pōwhiri expected for new professor

The University of Auckland will welcome a new Professor of Indigenous Studies, also the new co-director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (NPM), on Friday at what is expected to be one of the largest Pōwhiri ever held at Waipapa Marae.

Professor Linda Waimarie Nikora (Te Aitianga a Hauiti, Ngāi Tūhoe) is joining Auckland’s Te Wānanga o Waipapa from the University of Waikato where she lectured in psychology and was founding director of the influential and successful Māori and Psychology Research Unit.

Since 2016 Professor Nikora has also been co-theme leader of the Mauri Ora research theme for NPM – New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE), hosted by the University.

“It is wonderful to see someone of Linda’s stature join our community of scholars,” says Professor Tracey McIntosh, co-head of the University’s Te Wānanga o Waipapa (School of Māori and Pacific Studies) and the outgoing co-director of NPM.

“Linda comes to us with a well-deserved reputation in scholarship, graduate supervision and mentorship of Māori academics. I am confident that the contribution she will make as the incoming co-director of NPM and as a professor in Te Wānanga o Waipapa will be impressive and transformative.”

Professor Nikora grew up on the North Island’s East Coast, as well as Gisborne and Rotorua, and attended Hukarere Girls College in Napier. She began study at the University of Waikato in 1984 and then joined the Department of Psychology as a junior lecturer in 1989. Her PhD in Social Science in 2007 was titled “Maori social identities in New Zealand and Hawai’i”.

Professor Nikora has a celebrated research and academic career, working in community, social and indigenous psychologies, with a specific focus on Māori wellbeing and self-determination. Her research in recent years has focused on Tangi: Māori ways of mourning; traditional body modification; ethnic status as a stressor; Māori identity development; cultural safety and competence; Māori mental health and recovery; social and economic determinants of health; homelessness; relational health; and social connectedness.

“I’m really excited and absolutely looking forward to working with colleagues across the University of Auckland, and beyond to the Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga national network of researchers and communities,” says Professor Nikora.

“I’m also excited about exploring Auckland ‘the unknown’. When I moved to Waikato in 1984, I vowed and declared that my next move would be back east. Now I find myself moving north! This was not in the grand plan, but sometimes exciting opportunities arise that simply cannot be turned down.”

Professor Nikora will be accompanied onto Waipapa Marae at 11am, 27 October, with members of her iwi groups, colleagues from the University of Waikato and friends and workmates from all over Auckland.

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