Professor of Māori Development
Te Ara Poutama
The driving force behind everything that Professor Hinematau McNeill does is wanting to make a difference for people who have been marginalised.
"The work we do in Te Ara Poutama is transformative,” she says.
“I think everything in my whole adult career is about making a difference, for Māori in the first instance - but what’s good for Māori is also good for the rest of New Zealand.”
In the 1980s, McNeill helped initiate Māori women’s refuges and pushed for the mandatory reporting of domestic violence.
She joined Te Ara Poutama as a Senior Lecturer in 1997. Her doctorate worked with renowned tohunga (specialist/healer) Hohepa Kereopa, looking at what promotes mental wellness in Tūhoe kaumātua.
Another highlight of her time at AUT has been helping set up the UniPrep programme with the University’s Office of Pacific Advancement. UniPrep helps give school leavers from areas of deprivation and poverty access to higher-education.
Hinematau is Tapuika, Ngāti Moko, and worked on the historical record as a Treaty negotiator for her iwi, which settled with the Crown in 2014. This experience brought her tribal and academic worlds together and contributed significantly to her research focus and teaching.
More recently, an interest in artistic practice-led research has enriched her postgraduate work and helped new and emerging scholars operate creatively in a way that values and respects indigenous epistemologies and ways of working.
Hinematau was raised in a marae-based community and likes to spend spare time with her mokopuna.
She believes that when indigenous knowledge is truly valued it will invigorate and enrich the learning experience of everyone.