17 Apr 2013

Maori academic wants to raise First Nations profile at Alberta University

6:46 am on 17 April 2013

A Maori academic who leads the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta says he wants to lift the department's profile on campus.

Dr Brendan Hokowhitu from Ngati Pukenga arrived in Canada in February to become the faculty's dean, after time as an Associate Professor at Otago University.

In New Zealand he became known for his research into indigenous culture and sport, while setting up a Masters Degree progamme in tangata whenua (indigenous) studies.

He says First Nations people in Canada want to learn from the way Maori have advanced their causes.

But Dr Hokowhitu said he would need to approach the topic with humility, because Maori in Aotearoa did not go about things in the same way as First Nations people in Canada.

He hoped to bring about some positive changes during his tenure, including raising the profile of Aboriginal people on campus.