Professor Michael Walker
Prime Minister’s Supreme Award recipient 2011
Also award for Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching – Kaupapa Māori category
School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland
“Knowing who we are.”
Michael Walker is of Te Whakatōhea descent and continues a whānau legacy of academic excellence. Early in his career at the University of Auckland, he was asked to improve retention rates for Māori and Pasifika science learners. The resulting Tuākana Programme has had a spectacular impact across the institution for over 20 years.
Michael Walker is that rare breed that easily bridges the cultural divide. A colleague attests, 'he has led a quiet revolution – teaching Māori about science and scientists about Māori'. His commitment to learner success has been a constant in two decades of teaching and academic endeavour.
A former learner says, 'I remain in awe that Mike’s passion to grow and support young Māori and Pasifika scientists in 1991, continues today.' Michael Walker is a true rangatira, a humble, empowering visionary deriving satisfaction from the success of others. 'He is often not the person, whose name is up in lights, but the one constantly working behind the scenes towards the achievement.'