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Otago academic awarded New Zealand’s top prize for tertiary teaching excellence

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Tuesday, 1 July 2014 8:30pm

Dr Karyn Paringatai
Dr Karyn Paringatai

Tonight (Tuesday, July 1) the Prime Minister presented his 2014 Supreme Award for Tertiary Teaching Excellence to Dr Karyn Paringatai (Ngāti Porou), lecturer at Te Tumu – School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, University of Otago.

The Supreme Award, considered the pinnacle of this annual event, recognises Dr Paringatai’s twelve years of teaching learners from a wide variety of backgrounds to become a whānau of champions for the revitalisation of te reo Māori.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne warmly congratulated Dr Paringatai for winning the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award for Tertiary Teaching Excellence tonight (Tuesday, 1 July).

"For Karyn to be recognised at this early stage in her career with this honour is incredible. She fully deserves this national recognition and she has an exciting future ahead of her. I have no doubt that Karyn will, as a practitioner of Kaupapa Māori and as a scholar of te reo Māori and Māori Performing Arts, contribute significantly to teaching current and future generations of students.

“Karyn’s success is also a credit to Te Tumu. I know her colleagues and students from Te Tumu, and the wider Otago community, will be proud of her. We are fortunate to have excellent teachers of such high calibre here at Otago."

As a committed practitioner of Kaupapa Māori and a passionate student and scholar of te reo Māori and Māori Performing Arts, Karyn Paringatai personifies excellent teaching. Her revival of the ancient practice of teaching in the dark and subsequent research into its benefits is world leading.

While she considers it her job to “produce competent practitioners of te reo Māori and confident performers of Haka and waiata”, Karyn has been solely responsible for developing and delivering that introductory paper. She has taken on senior management roles within the school – as coordinator of the Bachelor of Māori Traditional Arts degree and Head of the Māori Language programme, undertaken training and mentoring of other teaching staff, and designed and taught Māori language and cultural competency programmes and workshops for visiting and international groups.

Tonight’s success completes a hat trick for Otago, as three academics have won the award in three years. Last year Associate Professor Gordon Sanderson from the School of Medicine won and the year before (2012) Associate Professor Rhiannon Braund, Senior Lecturer in School of Pharmacy was awarded the top teaching honours. Five Otago academics have won the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award for tertiary teaching excellence in the past 12 years. Law Associate Professor Selene Mize won in 2009 and Associate Professor Peter Schwartz from Pathology won in 2003. No other tertiary institution has achieved this level of success.

The Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards celebrates New Zealand’s finest tertiary teachers - as recognised by their organisations, colleagues, learners and broader communities. A total of twelve awards were presented tonight for sustained excellence in tertiary teaching – under General and Kaupapa Māori categories.

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

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