The late Dr Ranginui Walker a respected academic

updated By Mānia Clarke
  • Auckland

The country's academia is mourning the death of Māori's leading academic Dr Ranginui Walker. Fellow academic Sir Pita Sharples says Dr Ranginui changed the landscape of the Māori world through education.

Accolades and final farewells continue to flow for the extraordinary academic. 

“Rest now, Ranginui. Rest in your final resting vessel, knowing that you have completed your research, your role teaching children, students and people,” says Sir Pita Sharples.

Dr Walker completed his PhD in 1970.

Dr Sharples says Walker led the way in Māori education, “We all worked together, Bob (Sir Kotahi Robert) Mahuta and Pat Hōhepa at Auckland University.  Ranginui was apt at giving the historical account and movements of Māori people who were affected by colonisation.”

Under the entrance of Ōrākei Marae, Professor Taiarahia Black said Dr Walker was a mover and shaker who challenged people in his line of work as a member of the Waitangi Tribunal.

“It is a very difficult job to gain an understanding of presentations in the form of written, visual and oral contexts based on land confiscations,” says Black.

“His greatest legacy is that he wasn't afraid to talk about the historical injustices done by non-Māori to Māori. He explains how Māori were oppressed.  Such as the Tohunga Suppression Act, laws in schools, that banned my mother from speaking Māori there.  He also highlighted concerns about Māori poverty,” says Sharples.

According to Sir Pita, Dr Walker's work was often done in isolation, however, his success wasn't due to his own efforts, and credit goes to his support.

He told me, "It's a lonely journey.  When I return home, there's no one to support me. I sit alone in my work."  Not many people knew this. Furthermore, then he goes home, Deidre is there.  His soulmate, wife, from the beginning to now.

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