Emeritus Professor at AUT
Dean of Arts at AUT 1992 – 2002
The success of too many students to count, achievements with Māori and Aboriginal students and studies and contributions to AUT’s Māori development are among the things Dr Peter Harwood looks back on as highlights of a varied and illustrious career.
Social sciences and policy, community and Māori development and the broad spectrum of humanities subjects all formed part of Peter’s focus at AUT, including the development of new degrees and postgraduate programmes that helped AUT achieve university status.
Work with AUT’s international students included recruitment and the establishment of the first annual powhiri and noho marae events for these students. Peter was also behind the move to offer free te reo elective papers across all programmes.
Born in Whanganui, he originally left school at 15 but later won a Rotary International Scholarship to begin his academic career with undergraduate studies at the University of Georgia in the sixties. This was followed by a Diploma in Social Work from Victoria University, and a BA and MA at the University of Auckland. Peter’s career included working in the area of child welfare in England, the Waikato, Auckland and Australia, and has spanned government and academic roles in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Highlights before joining AUT in 1992 include the Rotary International Scholarship that enabled Peter to study in the USA, his appointment as the Auckland City Council’s first community advisor and being appointed professor and Head of Social Sciences at Monash University in Australia.
‘Helping make the world a better place’ is one of the ways Peter describes career success, and the international opportunities he has enjoyed have ensured an ongoing thirst for sharing his knowledge and helping so many others.
Among his contributions are the establishment of New Zealand’s first Citizens Advice Bureau in 1970, the renovation of the family mārae at Tautoro (Kaikohe) and work on numerous Māori development projects that led to him being awarded an MNZM for services to the community and Māori in 2008.
Since retiring, Peter has continued to serve supervising social workers and teams at the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki.
His inspiration comes from four accomplished children and nine mokopuna aged 7 to 14 years, ongoing contributions to various Māori development projects and continued involvement with the Ponsonby Rugby Club, including its scholarship programme in partnership with AUT.