Dr Ngarino Ellis
Award for Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching – Kaupapa Māori category
Senior Lecturer in Art History, University of Auckland
“The values instilled by my grandparents shape my life and are at the core of my teaching practice."
Nō Ngāpuhi, nō Ngāti Porou hoki a Dr Ngārino Ellis. Ko ngā tikanga heke iho i ōna mātua tūpuna ka ū ki tōna ao, ki tōna oranga, ki āna mahi whakaako, tae noa ki te whakairo whakaaro o āna ākonga. Ko tāna kaupapa, ko te kaupapa toi Māori. Ko tāna, he tirohanga toi mai i te Ao Māori, ā, he whakamōhiotanga hoki i ngā whakaaro hōhonu o kui mā o koro mā. E taea ai āna ākonga katoa te rongo i te āhuareka o te mātauranga toi. Māori mai, Pākehā mai, ka noho tonu āna ākonga i roto i te manaakitanga, i te rangatiratanga, e wānanga tahi ai, e whakapakari tahi ai rātau. E kī ana te kōrero, ‘he mana tangata, he toi whakaaro’. Ki a koe e te māreikura, nei rā ngā mihi.
Dr Ngarino Ellis is the only Māori art historian teaching in a New Zealand university. This presents significant challenges and duties that Dr Ellis embraces and excels in by fostering the study of Māori art forms and practices using Te Ao Māori frameworks and Te Ao Māori world views. Her knowledge is prodigious and motivating. She has introduced fresh ways of thinking in collaborative and creative classes to engage all students.
In teaching students about Māori art she empowers them with an understanding of the Māori world, so that students leave her classes feeling braver, more confident and more passionate about learning. A student comments, “This course has completely changed the way I think and questioned how I see myself positioned in Aotearoa.” She is a role model for how to infuse Kaupapa Māori approaches in a way that creates safe and stimulating learning environments for all students. She has been influential in encouraging staff to rethink their assumptions and recognise the diversity, and diverse needs, of their learners.