A critical challenge facing Māori development is the challenge and opportunity of distinctiveness. What in particular can the Māori world bring to enhance New Zealand generally? This question will underpin the forthcoming Inaugural Professorial Lecture of Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, Professor of Indigenous Development (Faculty of Arts) and Director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, a Centre of Research Excellence hosted by The University of Auckland.

Professor Royal’s lecture, “The Creative Potential of Māori Communities”, is based on his own indigenous research and his creative practice as a composer. He will discuss the transition from a preoccupation with social justice and cultural revitalisation through to the engagement by Māori communities with creativity and innovation. He will discuss his research concerning the whare tapere – traditional houses of performance and entertainment – showing how the whare tapere started life as a creative project delving into traditional Māori knowledge and moved to become a process yielding the creative potential of a Māori community. 

Professor Royal contends that the Māori renaissance of the last 40 years is an extraordinary New Zealand cultural phenomenon. Much change has taken place in Māori communities and in New Zealand generally, driven largely by quests for social justice and cultural revitalisation. Professor Royal says these changes have brought about positive transformation for Māori in New Zealand.

“So much change has taken place that it is now possible to say that the Māori dimension of New Zealand society represents a net national opportunity. Whilst problems do remain, overall Māori communities are making the transition into creative space where they are able to plan new futures and bring forth distinctive contributions to our national life,” says Professor Royal, who argues further that Māori development smoothly transitions to become indigenous development, thereby becoming relevant to all peoples.

“Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga is a respected Centre of Research Excellence with strong links throughout New Zealand and abroad. Professor Royal’s lecture will not only introduce his own research, but explore the opportunities of cultural and intellectual enrichment from Māori and indigenous research and development as a whole. We are delighted to host such important work at The University of Auckland,” says Associate Professor Jan Crosthwaite, Dean of the Faculty of Arts.

In addition to presenting this lecture, Professor Royal will also perform a number of his new music compositions. For more information visit www.charles-royal.com

Professor Charles Royal will deliver “The Creative Potential of Māori Communities” at 6.30pm on Wednesday 7 September at the Kenneth Myers Centre (72 Shortland Street). Admission is free; please arrive early to ensure seating is available.

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