Leonie Pihama receives US exchange for indigenous development

  • 5 November 2010

Educationalist, researcher, and company director, Dr Leonie Pihama, is the inaugural recipient of the Fulbright-Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Senior Scholar Award.

One of three new exchange awards in the field of indigenous development offered under a new partnership between Fulbright New Zealand and Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, the award is offered annually to a New Zealand scholar who displays professional distinction, leadership skills and strong ambassadorial qualities and whose area of research or teaching fits within one of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga's research themes.
Dr Pihama’s extensive research interests cut across all of the organisation’s major research themes which focus on families – young and old, economic transformation and national identity.
She has a long history of involvement in Māori education, with involvement in Te Kōhanga Reo, Māori language immersion units and kura kaupapa Māori.

Her current research involvement includes being co-investigator on a series of projects including: Māori priorities for life stage research: Hapū ora; Māori whānau experiences of neonatal intensive care units; He kākano: Māori views and experiences of fertility, reproduction and Assisted Reproduction Therapies; and Understanding the pedagogy of school-based marae: a culturally responsive learning context in secondary schools.
Dr Pihama, in collaboration with Megan Tunks, recently completed the Waitākere site evaluation for the family violence focused “It’s Not OK Campaign” and was principal investigator for the recently completed research report for Te Puni Kōkiri on sexual violence and its impact on whānau Māori.

Dr Pihama has been recipient of a number of academic awards including being a recipient of the Vice-Chancellors University Development Fund (University of Auckland) and holder of the Hohua Tūtengaehe Post Doctoral Fellowship.
The Fulbright exchange programme (an initiative of Senator J. William Fulbright who believed that greater mutual understanding between different countries and cultures was crucial to ensure a peaceful future for the world) allows Dr Pihama to travel to the United States for a minimum period of three months.

Charles Royal, Director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga and Fulbright alumnus says: "Nationally and internationally, indigenous development research is growing and New Zealand is providing significant leadership in this arena.

The benefit of such research to both indigenous and general communities is increasing in scale and significance.

This award enables an indigenous New Zealand researcher to once again engage with important indigenous development in a global sense and to gain insights and perspectives in the North American context. We wish Leonie every success in her endeavours.”