Five of the nine recipients of the Ako Aotearoa Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards this year are outstanding Māori tertiary teachers. Winning awards in the Kaupapa Māori category were: Associate Professor Anne-Marie Jackson, Dr Awanui Te Huia, Kay-Lee Jones, Dr Rhys Jones and Yo Heta-Lensen.
The online awards ceremony, MC’d expertly by Dr Karyn Paringatai, got even more exciting when the big prize – the 2020 Prime Minister's Supreme Award – was awarded to NPM Researcher and University of Auckland, Te Kupenga Hauora Māori, academic Dr Rhys Jones.
Rhys is an outstanding champion of teaching and learning, where he weaves together values from te Ao Māori, Kaupapa Māori frameworks, Indigenous Peoples' human rights and medicine. He is recognised as "courageous, transformative, and emancipatory."
"We need to go beyond the concept of transformative learning within a Kaupapa Māori framework, and seek to transform educational curricula, educational institutions and society in which they are embedded" says Dr Jones.
He has been at the forefront of Māori and Indigenous advocacy in medical health science in both Aotearoa New Zealand and on the world stage. Medical health inequalities require care and depth in teaching and learning, as Dr Jones shares, “Many students find this confronting; it involves questioning of accepted ‘truths’ about New Zealand history and society, and engagement with concepts such as colonisation, racism and privilege”.
NPM congratulates all five recipients who are all exceptional Māori academics, and celebrates this recognition of their deep and enduring contribution to teaching excellence in Aotearoa New Zealand.