June 29, 2017
Blistered hands part of kaupapa Maori struggle
The winner of a special lifetime achievement award at this year’s Prime Minister’s awards for education excellence says he stands alongside many others in the struggle to revitalise indigenous language and knowledge.
Professor Graham Hingangaroa Smith received the honour jointly with his wife Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith.
He says while their work in kaupapa Maori education has pitted them against the status quo, over time many of their ideas have become almost mainstream because others were willing to take them up and make them a reality.
"The investment in the early kaupapa Maori struggle and the development of kaupapa Maori theorising of that work challenged mainstream conventional structures, the theory part inside universities, and what was narrowly conceived around language development has now been broadened. Those were struggles from the early days, lots of people involved, people who have got blisters on their hands by actually getting out there and doing the change tasks that needed to be done," Professor Smith says.
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