Māori academic Professor Sir Mason Durie will deliver one of his last public lectures at the TSB Showplace in New Plymouth tomorrow to celebrate Massey University’s Te Mata o Te Tau lecture series.
Sir Mason, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Māori and Pasifika), is one the most highly respected academics in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and will retire at the end of the month after 24 years at Massey.
One of the themes of his lecture will be how New Zealand has evolved as a modern nation, as well as the significance of demographic changes like the increase in the number of Asian and Pacific people. He will also discuss how a sense of nationhood has gradually incorporated dual Māori and Pākehā customs; and how this is likely to increasingly include the wider Asia Pacific region.
His retirement coincides with the launch of a new College of Health, a major initiative he instigated, and reflects his passionate commitment to improving public health, specifically Māori health.
“The college will create exciting new opportunities to study how whānau and families can maintain good health and avoid unnecessary illness,” Sir Mason says.
“The potential for preventing illness has never been greater, but as a nation New Zealand has not taken full advantage of what we already know about prevention, we need to transform our thinking. We have the potential to learn much more about prevention through innovative research.”
Sir Mason’s legacy at the University includes establishing the School of Māori Studies, Te Pūtahi-ā-Toi. He was head of the school for 14 years before being appointed as Massey’s first Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Māori). In late 2002, that role expanded to include Pasifika.
Among his many successes in fostering Māori-focused health education, research and training, he was successful in gaining funding to establish a Centre for Māori Health Research, Te Pūmanawa Hauora, and also negotiated the Māori mental health programme, Te Rau Puawai, which provides up to 100 scholarships a year for students studying health-related subjects.
Date: Wednesday June 13, 2012
Venue: TSB Showplace – 92 Devon Street, New Plymouth, Taranaki
Time: 7pm – 8pm Cost: Free
Souce: Massy News Press Release