Former student says Dr Walker was a beacon of hope

By Taroi Black
  • Auckland

Dr Walker was not only an author and an activist, he was also a man on a mission to help mainstream understand the Māori world better. Te Kāea spoke to one of his former Auckland University students who was part of that movement.

Dr Walker coached students like Ropata Eruera to be staunch Māori.

“He taught us to be strong and better than Pākēhā,”says Eruera.

Today, Eruera works at the Auckland Library. He showed Te Kāea archive documents that included Dr Walker's notes, written during his long career. Some refer to the occupation of the Bastion Pt in 1978.

“Ngāti Whātua cherish these records. They are memories the tribe will never forget,” says Eruera.

Eruera took Te Kāea deep into the library's archives. It holds every edition of every major newspaper in the country dating back to the late 1800s. It is here that you'll find some of the professor's controversial observations on society.

Eruera says “His job was to fix the perception mainstream New Zealanders had on Māori issues in various publications.”

Eruera believes Dr Walker gave him and many others a beacon of hope in the late '80s, “He taught us to be strong and clear about what we wanted to do in our lives.”

In the many books he wrote, he was able to spread the hope that he taught his students.

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