New Year surprise for AUT Research fellow

09 Feb, 2015
New Year surprise for AUT Research fellow
AUT University Research Fellow Dr Huhana Hickey (Ngāti Tahinga, Tainui, Ngai Tai) has been named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her contribution to people with disabilities, in particular Māori.

AUT University Research Fellow Dr Huhana Hickey (Ngāti Tahinga, Tainui, Ngai Tai) has been named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her contribution to people with disabilities, in particular Māori.

A Lecturer and Research Fellow at AUT’s Taupua Waiora Centre for Māori Health Research Unit at the North Shore Campus, Dr Hickey has a long standing interest in the human rights of people from marginal backgrounds and the consequences of discrimination and social oppression.

Dr Hickey herself suffers from Multiple Sclerosis and is wheel-chair bound, but that doesn’t stop her researching and campaigning for what she believes in.

“My work is committed to helping empower others to help themselves. Everyone has the potential and capacity to achieve great things.”

“This honour is also for my whānau,” says Dr Hickey. “There are some limitations to my own disability, and without them, I would not have been able to go out and achieve what I have achieved for people with disabilities and especially for Māori with disabilities.”

Dr Hickey has also just received a $360,000 grant from the Health Research Council to research the health and disability experiences of Māori with disabilities in Whangarei and South Auckland over the next three years as part of her work at AUT.

“Only 16 per cent of Māori take up disability services available to them. Yet, a whole third of Māori have a disability.

“I’m hoping this research into the experiences of Māori with disabilities and their access to services, will open the door for further exploration in an area which is currently still very under-researched.”

Dr Hickey also heads her own company, Pukenga Consultancy, which provides and carries out research, advocacy and advice in all aspects relating to disabilities and was the Lead Investigator for the Māori Development Research Centre.

Her work with the United Nations Adhoc group prior to the signing of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has led to indigenous people with disabilities being included within the preamble of the convention - one of Dr Hickey’s goals is to increase the knowledge of indigenous peoples with disabilities along with increasing their profile and inclusion in all levels of society.

She currently sits on the NZ human rights review tribunal, as well as the Ethics Panel of the United Nations, is the Chair of the Auckland Council Disability Strategic Advisory Panel and a foundation member of the Indigenous Disabled Women’s Researchers Network International in 2003.

Dr Hickey also coordinated the accessible Marae project for Te Rōpū Wairoa, the Māori Disability Self-Advocacy Group in 2009 and 2010.

Business school alumni honoured

Janine Smith, AUT Business School graduate of the Master of Philosophy (MPhil), was also recently honoured in the 2015 New Year Honours list, receiving a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to corporate governance.

Smith completed the MPhil in 2010, under the supervision of Professor Deryl Northcott, with First Class Honours. Her thesis was titled, “Directors’ insights from the inside the boardroom: A New Zealand perspective”.

She believes lifelong learning doesn’t stop when you leave university. “You need to be responsible for your own development and not expect employers to do this for you,” she says.

“Having an education is an important foot in the door. The structure of thinking and the tools gained through a university education is important for a person’s future in any business”.

Smith has been a company director for 20 years.  She is a founding Principal of The Boardroom Practice Limited (TBPL) which specialises in boardroom practice and organisational development and change issues for boards and management, is currently Chair of AsureQuality, a Director of Steel and Tube Holdings Ltd, and the only independent member of Fonterra’s Governance Development Committee. Previous directorships include director of The Warehouse Group, Bank of New Zealand, Kensington Swan Legal and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra; Deputy chair of Kordia Group and Airways Corporation; Chair of McLarens Young NZ (now Crawford NZ) and Custom Fleet NZ; and a Trustee of Venture Taranaki Trust (economic development agency).

In her CEO and senior management roles Janine held executive director roles with Arnott’s NZ Ltd and Telecom Directories Ltd.