14 April, 2023
Our Deputy Director Māori Associate Professor Pauline Harris travelled to Oxford in October with Juliet Nelson. Juliet is one of our Discovery Scholarship alumni and a former Honours student of Principal Investigator Professor Nicola Gaston. They were joined by MacDiarmid Institute Board Chair Hēmi Rolleston and Principal Investigator Professor Duncan McGillivray along with a wider group of 40 students and mentors from iwi across Aotearoa. The group was hosted by the Rhodes (Atlantic) Trust.
The aim of the trip was to encourage more Māori to apply to the Rhodes scholarship and the like.
Māori are significantly under-represented (only three of the more than 247 New Zealand Rhodes scholars selected since 1904 were Māori). This visit follows the legacy from one of the first Māori to attend Oxford, Makereti Papakura from Whakarewarewa Village, nearly 100 years ago. The trip included an Inaugural Makereti Papakura talk delivered by Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith. The group visited different departments and colleges to gain a better understanding of the opportunities at Oxford. Juliet and Pauline visited the Physics department and met with the head of department of Physics Professor Ian Shipsey, who gave a tour of the department and arranged for his students to talk about their experiences at Oxford. This was then followed by meet and greet with others including collaborators of Principal Investigator Professor Justin Hodgkiss. Juliet and Pauline were given a tour and met with Professor Henry Snaith’s group. They shared their research, what they were doing and what it was like at Oxford.
Current Rhodes Scholar Rhieve Grey (Ngāti Tūwharetoa ki Taupō, Ngāti Manunui, Ngāti Porou), who helped the group organise the visit, describes his journey of getting to Oxford and the strong Māori women who influenced and supported him on The Spinoff.