2019 Royal Society research honours for Arts

Professor Emeritus Roger Horrocks MNZM, Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga and Selina Tusitala Marsh have been awarded medals by Royal Society Te Apārangi.

Associate Professor Selina Tusitala Marsh ONZM

These annual awards celebrate the achievements and contributions of innovators, kairangahau Māori, researchers and scholars in science, technology and humanities throughout New Zealand.

Professor Emeritus Roger Horrocks MNZM

Professor Horrocks has been awarded the Pou Aronui Award for championing New Zealand culture, particularly our film and television industries, as well as literature and the visual arts. He founded the Department of Film, Television and Media Studies at the University of Auckland.

“This award from Royal Society Te Apārangi means a lot to me because it acknowledges the importance of the humanities and the arts as part of our way of life. Local support for those areas is vital if we want to live in a country that has a lively, diverse, independent culture. And they strengthen our sense of history. Our society hasn’t always encouraged those values, or understood how much they contribute to our quality of life as well as our economy. Cultural activities are a cause to which many scholars and artists are committed, and I want to accept this award on their behalf as well as my own.”

In giving the award, the Royal Society Te Apārangi cites Professor Horrocks’ “tireless work over five decades in New Zealand culture, in film, television, literature, and the visual arts.”

Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga

Centre of Research Excellence hosted by the University of Auckland

The inaugural Te Rangaunua Hiranga Māori Award recognises excellent, innovative co-created research conducted by Māori that has made a distinctive contribution to community wellbeing and development in New Zealand.

Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (NPM) has successfully led and fostered the carving out of a space for community-led mātauranga Māori, te reo and tikanga Māori science research in New Zealand.

In the absence of the infrastructure that long-established disciplines such as physics, history or botany enjoy, NPM developed and implemented new processes and structures to support indigenous community co-created research in a tertiary environment that is not conducive to such processes.

Associate Professor Selina Tusitala Marsh ONZM

Former New Zealand Poet Laureate and notable Pacific scholar Associate Professor Selina Tusitala Marsh ONZM has been awarded the Humanities Aronui Medal for her outstanding creative and scholarly work which has had a profound impact in academic, literary and public domains.

A notable Pacific feminist scholar and vanguard Pacific poet, she was the first Pasifika student to obtain an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Auckland. She also found that little attention had been paid to Pacific poets. Selina has worked tirelessly for the past 10 years to bring the voices of Pasifika poetry, her own and others, to the forefront.

On receiving this medal, Selina said: "It's pure poetic synchronicity! The Aronui Medal is being awarded to me on the same day as my first graphic memoir, Mophead, hits the bookshelves. This for-all-ages book tells the tale of how I grew from being an eight-year-old who 'stuck out' for having too big hair and teased as a 'mophead', to becoming the first New Zealand Poet Laureate of Pacific descent. It also showcases my research on the first Pacific women poets to the broadest audience.

"This is what my work has always been about: taking poetry to the people. It's wonderful for Royal Society Te Apārangi to recognise its impact."

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