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Te Ata Kura Educator

Dr Veronica Tawhai

Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Uepohatu.

Associate Professor Dr. Veronica Tawhai, from Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Uepohatu, is a mother of three living on the lands of Rangitāne in the Manawatū. She currently works as Pūkenga Tiriti for the Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor Māori at Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa / Massey University, and as a Tiriti o Waitangi educator nationally for Te Ata Kura Educators.


Previous to her Pūkenga Tiriti role, she lectured for 14 years at Te Pūtahi a Toi / School of Māori Studies in Te Tiriti o Waitangi, contemporary Māori politics and policy, critical theories, and strategic Māori development.


Dr. Tawhai is a founding member of Te Ata Kura (Society for Conscientisation), a life member of Te Mana Ākonga (National Māori Tertiary Students Association), and a current pūkenga (specialist) for Ngā Toki Whakarurunga. She is also a past member of Aotearoa Independent Monitoring Mechanism on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Education Sub commission for UNESCO NZ, and Associate Scholar for the Centre for World Indigenous Studies in Washington, USA.  


As a member of Matike Mai Aotearoa, the Independent Working Group on Constitutional Transformation established by Dr. Moana Jackson and Professor Margaret Mutu, Tawhai coordinated the national Matike Mai Aotearoa Rangatahi  / Youth for Constitutional Transformation project between 2012 – 2017. This contributed the rangatahi perspective to the Working Group’s report He Whakaaro Here Whakaumu mō Aotearoa.   


Dr. Tawhai has co-edited two books, Weeping waters: The Treaty of Waitangi and constitutional change and Always speaking: The Treaty of Waitangi and public policy, and has recently launched Kaiwhakaako Tiriti: a praxis, curricula and pedagogy wānanga for new and aspiring Te Tiriti educators. Her PhD research, supported by a Fulbright - Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga scholar award, took her across Aotearoa and to Turtle Island (USA and Canada), Hawai’i and Australia. Here she interviewed senior Indigenous political educators on best teaching practices in this kaupapa, and the implications for citizenship education in settler colonial contexts (like Aotearoa). 


A goal of Tawhai is to transform electoral, political and citizenship education culture in Aotearoa, where everyone feels empowered by our past to work towards a just future for all mokopuna. 

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