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Wednesday 12 December 2018 1:26pm

Te Tumu senior lecturer Tangiwai Rewi, who will graduate with her PhD today, has a kahu huruhuru fastened by her mother Tuahana Clark, during a Māori pre-graduation ceremony yesterday.

An emotional acknowledgment of a graduating senior academic was the highlight of the University of Otago’s second Māori pre-graduation ceremony of the December season, held yesterday.

A number of graduands from the Humanities and Business divisions were honoured at the Otago Business School for Te Heika Pounamu.

The ceremony is held the day before every graduation to acknowledge Māori graduands and their success at the University.

One of them was Te Tumu senior lecturer Tangiwai Rewi (Waikato Tainui). She will receive her Doctorate of Philosophy when she crosses the Dunedin Town Hall stage today.

Her graduation will cap off a memorable year for her whanau. In August, her younger sister Tinimiraka Victoria Clark was sworn in as the first Waikato female District Court Judge.

Mana whenua representative Dr John Broughton welcomed everyone, before Waikato kaumatua responded on behalf of the graduands and their families.

"These services and many others made sure I was able to succeed after seven-and-a-half years of working on this as a part-time student."

A number of University staff, including Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities) Professor Tony Ballantyne and Associate Dean Māori for Division of Commerce Dr Katharina Ruckstuhl spoke of the pride they had in the students.

“We know it is a big decision to bring your taonga here to study, and it is a decision we don’t take lightly,” Professor Ballantyne said.

Division of Humanities Kaiāwhina Māori Ana Rangi and Dr Rachel Sizemore were also acknowledged for the work they had done to drive Māori academic success.

When it came time for whanau and their graduands to speak, Rewi – wearing a kahu huruhuru crafted by her mother Tuahana Clark – and her father Tepene Clark were the first to speak.

Mr Clark told the crowd about the pride all whanau should have in their graduands, before Rewi spoke about the importance of all aspects of University life she was able to make the most of.

“I can’t thank the disability services enough, I also have to acknowledge the library services here at the University as well,” she says.

“These services and many others made sure I was able to succeed after seven-and-a-half years of working on this as a part-time student.”

The New Year will bring many new responsibilities for Rewi; she will become the Academic Dean Māori in the Division of Humanities in January. The new role comes after her recent appointment as the new co-chair of Poutama Māori, the Māori academic staff network across the University.

More than 220 Māori will graduate across the University’s six graduation ceremonies in December.

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