Display of Sir Hugh Kawharu papers

Sir Hugh Kawharu speaking at the opening of Waipapa Marae, 1988

Sir Hugh Kawharu speaking at the opening of Waipapa Marae, 1988. Photo: Maureen Lander. Anthropology Photographic Archive, I_2_059_017A. The University of Auckland.

The papers of the influential leader and academic Sir Hugh Kawharu are now available for research in Special Collections following a large archival processing project.1

To coincide with this, key aspects of Sir Hugh’s life and career are highlighted in a display which runs until 2 December outside Special Collections on the General Library ground floor.

Sir Hugh took up his role as Professor of Maori Studies and Head of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Auckland in 1985, after serving as the inaugural Professor of Anthropology and Maori Studies at Massey University. During his time at the University of Auckland, Sir Hugh was instrumental in the establishment of Waipapa Marae and the James Henare Research Centre, becoming its first Director. Colleagues at both universities held him in high regard as the senior Māori academic and the first to have been appointed to not just one, but two university chairs. He left the University in 1993 and was made Emeritus Professor the same year.

An active and respected academic, Ian Hugh Kawharu (1927-2006) undertook research in areas such as Māori welfare, customary title and the Treaty of Waitangi, producing a large body of work. Much of this work focused on a modern interpretation of the Treaty, based on the principle of rangatiratanga, which had a strong influence on the national debate and Government decision-making.

Sir Hugh also served on numerous boards, committees and projects. Reflecting his prominence and contribution to New Zealand, in 1989 he was awarded a knighthood and in 2002 became a Member of the Order of New Zealand.2

Sir Hugh’s papers were donated to Special Collections by the Hugh Kawharu Whanau Trust in 2008, two years after his death. Predominantly covering the period 1950-2006, the papers include items relating to his studies at Oxford, research material reflecting his varied academic interests and papers from his tenures as professor. The University of Auckland-related papers include material about the establishment of Waipapa Marae and the James Henare Research Centre. Other significant content relates to Bastion Point, Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei Trust Board, the Waitangi Tribunal, and more.

Researchers are encouraged to use the new online finding aid to learn more about these significant papers and to visit or contact Special Collections to gain access.

Stephen Innes, Special Collections

1 Sir Ian Hugh Kawharu papers, 1920-2006. MSS & Archives 2015/8. Special Collections, University of Auckland Libraries and Learning Services.

2 Durie, M. (2006). Sir (Ian) Hugh Kawharu: 2007 Academy Yearbook. Retrieved from http://www.royalsociety.org.nz/publications/reports/yearbooks/year2007/obituaries/kawharu