Homecoming for EIT’s new Rangahau Māori Professor

EIT’s new Rangahau Māori Professor Dr Annemarie Gillie (middle), with Māori and Indigenous Research Professor David Tipene-Leach (left) and Executive Dean Professor Nat Waran (right).

EIT’s new Professor Rangahau Māori, Dr Annemarie Gillies, has returned to the institution from where she sourced her introduction to academia many years ago at the Hawke’s Bay Community College.

Annemarie (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngäti Awa, Te Whanau-a-Apanui and Te Arawa) is now a long established business and management academic with a previous senior appointment at Massey University and a Professorial appointment at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.

A pōwhiri was held in April at Te Ara o Tāwhaki, Te Ūranga Waka, EIT’s Marae in the School of Māori Studies on the Hawke’s Bay Campus in Taradale.

“I feel like I have come home because this is where I started,” Annemarie, who is originally from Waimārama, says.

Her journey into academia, and specifically Rangahau Māori (Māori research) would not have happened if it hadn’t been for the closure of the Whakatu Freezing Works.

“When I started at the Freezing Works I thought ‘I’m just going to do one season, I don’t want to be here forever,” and then every year I kept saying ‘I’ll just do this season and then I’ll finish’.

“But you start and then 10 years later you’re still there. So, for some, it was a bit harder when we were all made redundant, but for me, I felt like ‘oh, well. I was only going to do one more season anyway’.”

She soon enrolled at EIT, where many of the redundant workers went for retraining, studied business administration, and worked in accounts before completing a National Certificate in Business Studies.

Shortly after graduating with a Bachelor of Business Studies majoring in Accountancy, at Massey University, Annemarie returned to her alma mater to manage the Te Pūmanawa Hauora Māori Health Research Programme under the directorship of Sir Mason Durie.

Sir Mason, a highly-regarded psychiatrist and academic known for his contributions to Māori health, and for developing the Te whare tapa whā model, also supervised Annemarie’s PhD.

“He provided the leadership, but he didn’t let me follow him, he walked alongside me all the time,” she reflects. “He was just a nice, kind person who encouraged me to do what I wanted but guided me and kept me focused.”

Throughout her career, Annemarie says she has been “really lucky” to have had good leadership, by Sir Mason, and later on by Professor Tony Vitalis, who was Head of School of Management and then later Distinguished Professor Graham Smith at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.

Annemarie later went on to become the Director of Te Au Rangahau, Massey University’s Māori Business Research Centre, and was a Senior Lecturer in the School of Management until 2014.

For more than three years, she held the title of Professor Māori and Indigenous Research at Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiārangi in Whakatane, before moving to health provider Te Puna Ora o Mataatua as Research Director.

Having already dedicated a large portion of her life working at Universities, Annemarie moved to Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga as Pouarahi Rārangi Kōrero in 2020, where she will continue to work in a reduced role.

“What I liked about Heritage New Zealand is that it was working with whānau, hapū and iwi and helping them to write up their own histories.”

Annemarie believes Rangahau Māori (Māori research) is relevant for “our people”.

“It’s not just doing research on Māori. It’s doing research with Māori and involving them, collaborating with them and co-designing projects.”

The new Rangahau Māori Professor is looking forward to continuing developing the space at Te Aho a Māui and at Te Pūkenga, which EIT is currently a subsidiary of.

Annemarie was initially asked to help support Māori staff, but EIT managed to convince her to play a more prominent role.

“I was really keen because that’s what I wanted most, to come in and support those Māori staff and help them in their translation of their research outputs.”

But it quickly developed into a broader remit which includes setting up the Rangahau Māori centre, supervising masters and postgraduate students, and building capacity in terms of supporting researchers where she can, in their mahi.

She is also looking forward to bringing onboard some of the projects she is currently involved with, including looking at traditional knowledge labelling, working with the New Zealand Archaeological Association and indigenous peoples around the world. 

EIT’s Māori and Indigenous Research Professor David Tipene-Leach says Annemarie is a really important appointment, and EIT researchers are looking forward to working with her. “She is ‘a local’ and she is a highly experienced academic with the skills required to make our Rangahau Māori Centre a roaring success”.

EIT Executive Dean Professor Nat Waran says Annemarie’s appointment represents an exciting step in the development of Rangahau Māori.  

“Annemarie’s appointment comes with a specific remit around developing and nurturing our research and researcher capability in this important Kaupapa, using her expertise for EIT but also for the wider Te Pūkenga network. She will work with our region’s mana whenua, to grow Rangahau Māori, and make sure that our research makes a difference for the people who live and work in our regions.’

Developing the potential of Rangahau Māori

EIT Professor of Māori and Indigenous Research David Tipene-Leach (centre) with Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith (left) from the University of Waikato and Professor Jenny Lee-Morgan (right) from Unitec, who were the guest speakers at EIT’s Rangahau Māori research forum last week.


Developing the potential of Rangahau Māori (Māori research) and moving it away from the constraints of western research methodology was the focus of a research forum at EIT’s Taradale campus in May 2021.

Rangahaua te Pō-uriuri (Developing our Potential), hosted by EIT Professor of Māori and Indigenous Research David Tipene-Leach at Te Ara o Tāwhaki, Te Ūranga Waka, at EIT’s Marae in the School Māori Studies last Wednesday. The forum looked at ways to spearhead the  growth of Rangahau Māori in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti

To help unlock the ‘potential’ in this indigenous research approach, two leading Māori academics addressed the forum. Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith is an educationalist from University of Waikato and the author of the ground-breaking book, Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples, which was first published in 1999, but is being released as a third edition this year.

Joining her was Professor Jenny Lee-Morgan, the founding Director of Unitec’s Ngā Wai ā te Tūī Māori and Indigenous Research Centre, who has a distinguished track record of teaching and kaupapa Māori research.

In her address, Professor Tuhiwai Smith said the researcher she is today was not the one she started out as 22 years ago because everyone develops as they get experience. There has also been a change in attitude to Rangahau Māori.

“Twenty-two to 25 years ago, this event would simply not have happened. There was no structure in place to talk about Rangahau.”

“The journey has included a fightback of our knowledge and a fightback to reclaim our knowledge.”

She says that early in her career she realised that she did not want her research framed as deficit research.

“I did not want my research to be about why Māori are not achieving in secondary school or their truancy.”

“This was not my experience. What I was seeing as an academic and what I was seeing in life did not gel.”

Professor Tuhiwai Smith says her book, which is a world-leading academic piece, tells the story about a form of power and knowledge that emerged out of Europe.

“It shows how the power and knowledge developed into a global system that grew more insatiable and powerful and tried to destroy Māori and indigenous people, take their lands and erase their knowledge systems.”

“The story shows how that system took hold and was passed down into a network of institutions that dominate society right through to the present day.”

Professor Tuhiwai Smith, who is widely known as the Mother of Indigenous Studies, says the fightback saw indigenous people across the world get together and begin to challenge what had happened to them.

“This shows how reclaiming indigenous knowledge and language can inspire us to research for what has been taken or destroyed and put it back together again to help us heal and be whole again.”

Professor Lee-Morgan says pūrākau (storytelling) is a way to counter the existing narrative and share Māori stories.

Her doctoral study ‘Ako: Pūrākau of Māori Teachers’ Work in Secondary Schools’  was seminal in the methodological development of pūrākau as narrative inquiry.

She said Pūrākau continues to work in our everyday lives and can be used in the context of research.

“Pūrākau has the depth and ability to teach and learn from wherever we’re at to remind us of the names, the stories, and the fights etc. of our people.”

The idea of bringing who Māori are into what they do, in safe places within this research space is fundamental. “Our words are critical to thinking about our world.”

Professor Lee-Morgan suggested that getting into community networks and getting a Rangahau Unit up and running are fundamental developmental steps.

Professor Tipene-Leach noted “rangahau is central  to Te Pūkenga (the newly formed New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology) and to EIT, if we are to be true to our mandate and to our community”.