Byron Rangiwai

Byron Rangiwai

Trustee, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Manawa / Elected Member, Murupara Community Board/ Trustee, Murupara Area School/ Alternate Member, Rangitāiki River Forum
Doctor of Philosophy

Ngāti Manawa, Ngāti Whare, Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tūhoe

Making an active contribution to the development of his iwi, hapū, whānau and community was a major source of motivation for his studies, says AUT alumnus Dr Byron Rangiwai.

“Doing a PhD provides the skills and experiences for Māori to succeed for their people. We need to continue to build up a critical mass of Māori academics and researchers, so that our people have the skills and abilities to positively transform our whānau, hapū, iwi and communities,” says Byron.

Unlocking the past to create the future

For his Doctor of Philosophy, Byron explored a prophecy given to the Te Patuheuheu people by the nineteenth century Māori prophet Te Kooti.

“I analysed and re-interpreted this prophecy and from that analysis developed the beginning of a hapū development model.

“I hope this will one day be useful to my people, and serve as a template for other Māori and indigenous people.”

Manaakitanga and world-class supervisors

Due to his PhD topic and strong ties to his local community, Byron carried out some of his postgraduate studies by distance – something he says was made possible by supportive AUT staff and services.

“I was drawn to Te Ara Poutama and Te Ipukarea – the National Māori Language Institute at AUT – because of inspirational academics, manaakitanga, and quality, hands-on supervision.

“AUT has been nothing but supportive. They have been forthcoming with funding and assistance in every way.”

Paving the way

Throughout his studies, Byron made the most of every opportunity and was recognised with a Vice-Chancellor’s PhD scholarship, the Nga Karahipi Whakatairanga pia Māori Postgraduate Award and the Peter Harwood Scholarship in Community Leadership and Excellence. He also represented AUT at several conferences in Rarotonga and the US.

Now, with his PhD complete, Byron wants to see the research develop into something tangible.

“My PhD is really just the beginning of a discussion about how my people can access the knowledge inherent in their culture and history to find ways forward in terms of hapū and community development.”

Byron is a trustee of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Manawa; an elected member of the Murupara Community Board; an alternate member of the Rangitāiki River Forum; and a trustee on the Murupara Area School Board of Trustees.

He also successfully supervised two master’s students, and has received a doctoral scholarship to complete a second PhD at another university, focusing on a critical analysis of syncretism in Māori theology.