Trifecta of Royal Society honours for Arts

11 October 2017

Dr Aroha Harris, Professor Cris Shore and Professor Tracey McIntosh have been honoured by the Royal Society Te Apārangi in this year's New Zealand Research Honours.

Māori history

Dr Aroha Harris

Dr Aroha Harris was awarded the inaugural Early Career Researcher Award in Humanities for her substantial contributions to the award-winning Māori history, Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History.

"This award is a wonderful recognition of Māori history. I'm very proud," said Aroha, who is currently on secondment at the Waitangi Tribunal.

She co-wrote Tangata Whenua with the late Dame Judith Binney FRSNZ and Atholl Anderson FRSNZ and was lead author of the book’s final chapter, 'Te Ao Hurihuri: The Changing World', which explores the sociocultural history of twentieth-century Māori.

The award selection committee noted that Aroha had diverged from the tendency in other histories to focus on Māori political struggles and Māori-Crown relationships. Instead she provided new insights into lived reality for Māori, emphasising the creativity, resilience and agency of Māori communities in the face of significant sociocultural and economic challenges such as racism and poverty.

Dr Harris was appointed a member of the Waitangi Tribunal from 2008, she currently sits on the Te Rohe Potae (Wai 898) panel, which is investigating over 200 claims from Mokau in the south to Whaingaroa in the north. Her research-based teaching focuses on Māori policy and race relations, Māori historical methods including oral histories, and Māori perspectives of the past.

She has been President of the New Zealand Historical Association since 2015, and in 2017 she became President-elect of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. She will move into the role of President in 2018.

Political anthropology

Professor Cris Shore

Professor Cris Shore was awarded the Mason Durie Medal for his influential research relating to anthropology, policy and European politics.

"I am a passionate believer in the value of anthropology and the social sciences for understanding the major social problems and political challenges that our world is facing today," he said on receiving the award.

Cris has applied social anthropology methodologies to study organisations and policy as a way of understanding modern society and culture. He first developed his historical-anthropological methods in an ethnographic study of the Italian Communist party and Eurocommunism.

He then used them to gain an understanding of the formation of the European Union by studying the European Commission’s civil servants in Brussels. His book Building Europe: The Cultural Politics of European Integration was prescient of the Eurozone crisis and Brexit and the EU has appointed him as an expert adviser five times.

In recent years, Professor Shore has theorised about the rise of 'audit culture', studying the growing trend of using accountancy principles and techniques as instruments of management and how metric-based performance measurements are reshaping organisations and the subjectivities of those who work in them, including universities and health services.

He is also leading a multidisciplinary Marsden-funded project that explores how power and symbolism operate in the Westminster model of constitutional monarchy.

In 2016 Cris was elected Co-President of the Association for the Anthropology of Policy, a section of the American Anthropological Association. In 2016 he was Visiting Professor at University College London and Visiting Professor at Sussex University and holds many editorial roles. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal  Society Te Apārangi in 2016 and has been appointed to a Guest Professorship in Public Management at Stockholm University for 2018.

Social injustices that undermine Māori wellbeing

Professor Tracey McIntosh

Professor Tracey McIntosh was awarded the Te Rangi Hiroa Medal for Social Sciences for her ground-breaking work in advancing our understanding of the enduring social injustices that undermine Māori wellbeing.

"I am honoured to accept this award that acknowledges the importance of Māori research that is centred in the margins and draws on the knowledge of communities to deliver solutions that are sustainable and transformative," says Tracey.

Her research looks at how to correct the intergenerational transmission of social inequalities, particularly how they relate to Māori. She focuses on the incarceration of Māori women and on male ex-prisoners with gang affiliations and highlights the relationship between imprisonment, which socially excludes Māori, and the reproduction of ethnic and class disparities and intergenerational inequality.

Professor McIntosh’s work has three central pillars: education and creative writing in prisons; the intergenerational transfer of social inequalities and government, community and whanau-based responses; and evidence-informed policy and advice.

The medal selection committee said Tracey's work demonstrates a transformative approach to her research, teaching and service, steeped in Māori values, particularly whanaungatanga (relationships, connections and a feeling of belonging) and manaakitanga (process of showing respect, generosity and care).

"She seeks culturally sound, meaningful evidence-informed solutions that recognise the strengths, aspirations and knowledge that resides within communities."

Last year Tracey appeared as expert witness at the Waitangi Tribunal Wai 2540 claim concerning the Crown's alleged failure to meet its Treaty obligations to reduce reoffending among Māori.

She sits on several governance boards, particularly on social harm reduction, including JustSpeak and Te Ira — both working for a just and inclusive Aotearoa. In 2012 she co-chaired the Children's Commissioner's Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty, whose 24 working papers and final report produced significant policy interventions in New Zealand.

Tracey was formerly co-director and director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, making fundamental contributions to developing and supporting Māori research and successfully led the institution’s rebid as a Centre of Research Excellence. In 2016, she received a national Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award in the Kaupapa Māori category.