He Tangata Dr Karyn Paringatai

Jul 5, 2015

Ngāti Porou

Ngāti Porou

Dr Karyn Paringatai is a lecturer in Te Tumu – School of Māori, Pacific, and Indigenous Studies at the University of Otago, where she teaches Māori language and Māori performing arts. Karyn also has a research interest in identity development, particularly amongst those living away from their tribal areas. Karyn recently pioneered a pre-European Māori methodology of teaching Māori performing arts in the dark, to enhance the aural receptive skills and memory retention of her students. Last year she won the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award for Tertiary Teaching Excellence for her pioneering work in teaching.

Karyn will be speaking at Tuia Te Ako, the national Māori Tertiary Educator’s Hui, which brings together prominent leaders in Māori tertiary education, iwi, Māori tertiary education providers, individuals from the broader tertiary sector, learners, and whānau in a hui dedicated to supporting future success of all Māori in tertiary education.

This year Tuia Te Ako will be co-hosted by Te Tapuae o Rēhua and Ako Aotearoa (the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence), at Lincoln University, July 8-10.

What constitutes a good day?
A good day is when I have the time and motivation to get to the gym. It relaxes me and challenges me physically, which is perfect after sitting down and thinking all day.

One thing you could not live without?
My reo. I made a life-long commitment to learn and develop my reo skills, and it has opened up a whole new world of insight and opportunities. I cannot imagine my life without it.

Who or what inspires you and why?
My family. I am the daughter of a freezing worker and a cleaner. My older brother and sisters left school without any qualifications and have been working ever since. They epitomise what hard work can achieve, and they have inspired me my whole life to do exactly the same.

Highlight in the last year and why?
Winning the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award for Tertiary Teaching Excellence in July last year. It was a huge honour and it was a recognition of not only my efforts, but it was also a reflection of everybody who had taken the time and effort into developing me as a person and as an academic. For me it is also about the recognition of Māori knowledge and its growing importance nationally and internationally.

What is your greatest extravagance?
I’m not one for extravagant things but I do enjoy treating myself – monthly trips to the hairdresser’s and massages is an absolute must for me lately.
It gives me time out, and it’s nice to be pampered.

Favourite way to chill out?
Favourite place?

On a mattress in the lounge with a glass of wine, watching my programmes.

Dance or wallflower?
Wallflower. I prefer to let others have the limelight.

What food could you not live without?
Chocolate. I went without it for a month – it was the longest month of my life!

What meal do you cook the most?
I don’t really cook that often, mainly because I’m never home. But my forté is cooking for the masses. We always have whānau, friends, and orphaned students who don’t go home for the holidays come over for dinner. And it’s usually up to me to cook a roast with all the trimmings for everyone.

Greatest achievement?
Completing my PhD. I had to overcome some major obstacles when I was doing it (stomach removal and the death of my father), but finishing it showed me what I am capable of. He upoko mārō au!!