Dr Hinekura Smith (Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi, Te Ati Awa) is NPM's Emerging Researchers’ Leader, providing further national leadership and coordination of MAI Te Kupenga and developing and nurturing initiatives that contribute to the outcomes and objectives of NPM’s Capability and Capacity Strategy.
Hinekura was initially a secondary school te reo Māori teacher then moved into teacher education research almost 10 years ago, when she commenced her postgraduate studies. She has worked as a professional development facilitator in Māori medium schools, te reo Māori facilitator in English-medium schools and a professional teaching fellow at Te Puna Wānanga, School of Māori and Indigenous Education. Since February 2017 she has been a lecturer and academic developer Māori at the Centre for Learning and Research in Higher Education, University of Auckland.
Her research grounded in kaupapa Māori theory, includes the reclamation and revitalisation of Māori language, culture and identity - particularly for Māori women and children as well as the development of qualitative Kaupapa Māori and art-based methodologies.
From 2018-2020 Hinekura is a co-Principal Investigator on a 2 year intercultural Ako Aotearoa project named He Vaka Moana, which is focused on developing and evaluating an inter-institutional Oceanic research fellowship to support Māori and Pasifika student success and retention.