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New Year Honours for Māori Leaders at EIT

January 16, 2018

EIT Hawke’s Bay kaumātua Matiu Eru

Two Māori leaders associated with EIT were recognised in the New Year Honours list – Professor David Tipene-Leach and EIT Hawke’s Bay kaumātua Matiu Eru.

Formerly a Hawke’s Bay doctor, David was appointed Professor of Māori and Indigenous Research at EIT early last year.

He was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and health.

From Pōrangahau and of Ngāti Kere and Ngāti Manuhiri descent, David has spent his working life promoting Māori health. 

Celebrated for the work he has undertaken to prevent Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI), he worked with weavers and Maori midwives in developing the wahakura woven flax bassinet and “its little sister”, the plastic Pepi-Pod. 

The subsequent Safe Sleep programme has been credited with saving the lives of many babies.  The Ministry of Health announced last year that the infant safe sleep programme would run the wahakura project nationwide.

David continues to advance his research interests at EIT, where he also teaches a postgraduate programme in Māori health.

A highly respected kaumātua, Matiu Eru received his Queen’s Service medal for dedicating almost 60 years of his life to tikanga Māori, leadership and services in Hawke’s Bay.

An Anglican Minister, Matiu provides cultural guidance at EIT and to the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board.  He taught at Te Ūranga Waka for several years and also served on EIT’s Council.

He continues to work tirelessly in promoting te reo Māori, including helping those working for the Hawke’s Bay Police to learn the language.   

Of Tuhoe descent, Matiu grew up in Ruatoki with Māori as his first language.