New Fellows of the Royal Society

16 November 2017
Professor Michele Leggott
Professor Michele Leggott

Professor Michele Leggott and Professor Margaret Mutu have been named Fellows of the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi.

Michele is only the second poet (after Bill Manhire), and the first woman poet and scholar, to be made a Fellow.

She is regarded, here and abroad, as one of New Zealand's leading poets and poetry scholars. She has received many accolades for her work, including the inaugural New Zealand poet laureateship, the Prime Minister's Award for Poetry, and the Order of Merit. In a Harvard book on one hundred world poets from before Shakespeare to now, she features with only one other New Zealand poet, James K. Baxter.

Michele has spearheaded and continually expands nzepc, the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre. She has also contributed influentially to poetry, New Zealand and international, as a scholar (including an award-winning book on Louis Zukofsky), critic, editor, anthologist, conference organiser and video producer, and as a prize-winning teacher of poetry.

Michele's eighth poetry collection Vanishing Points was published in October. The third in a series, Vanishing Points is her first new collection of poetry since Heartland (2014) and is a book that goes beyond poetry with essays and musings. Its subject matter includes "history and family, lights and mirrors, the real and the surreal".

Professor Margaret Mutu is an internationally renowned Māori scholar whose research spans Māori language, tikanga (law), history and traditions, rights and sovereignty, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and treaty claims against the English Crown, constitutional transformation and Māori-Chinese encounters.

Esteemed internationally for her research and teaching, and her advocacy of and commitment to indigenous rights, Margaret's impressive research includes books, book chapters, journal articles, keynote addresses and active engagement with contemporary political debates.

Professor Margaret Mutu
Professor Margaret Mutu

In 2015 she was the recipient of the RSNZ Pou Aronui Award and she supports the ongoing development of Māori research by mentoring and nurturing emerging Māori scholars throughout New Zealand.

Margaret's current Marsden project explores Māori claimants' perspectives and experiences of the Treaty of Waitangi claims settlement process, offering the first indigenous counter-narrative to dominant interpretations of this.

Recognised by reviewers as research "of outstanding significance" led by a scholar with "an outstanding record of achievement and experience", this project informs Margaret's latest book Ngāti Kahu: Portrait of a Sovereign Nation, due out in December 2017.

Drawing on data gathered by the project and utilising a Māori analytical framework, this bilingual account extends an earlier work (Te Whānau Moana: Ngā Kaupapa me ngā tikanga: Customs and Protocols, 2003) to include a long overdue critique of the Treaty claims and settlement process for Ngāti Kahu.

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