Otago Law professor gets Prime Minister’s Supreme Award

by Sol Dolor22 Aug 2016
A University of Otago Faculty of Law professor has been awarded New Zealand’s highest honour for a tertiary educator.

Professor Jacinta Ruru has been given the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award presented by Rt Hon John Key at a function at Parliament on Wednesday night.

The professor’s award is the fifth consecutive year that the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award has been given to a University of Otago academic.

According to the University of Otago, the professor receives $10,000 through the Supreme Award as well as a further $20,000 as one of 12 tertiary teachers to be recognised through this year’s Sustained Excellence Awards.

In a statement, Ako Aotearoa, the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence, said that professor Ruru is designing a new experience for students learning law.

Her strategy brings greater focus to Māori experiences of the law, Māori relationships with land and Māori challenges for change in the classroom, the organisation said.

She is the first Professor of Law of Māori descent in New Zealand and the only Māori Law Faculty staff member at Otago University since 1999.

Professor Ruru established and runs the annual year-long programme for Otago’s Māori law students: Te haka; Building Māori Leaders in Law.

She supervises PhD students and is the Kaiāwhina Māori, the primary support person for Māori law students, in the Faculty of Law.

Among the accomplishments under her belt are two Fulbright Scholarships and 90 publications.

“Jacinta is a richly deserving winner of the Supreme Award and I’m sure that staff, students and alumni of the University will join me in applauding her, Judith’s, Darryl’s and Rachel’s remarkable achievements,” Professor Vernon Squire, Acting University Vice-Chancellor, said in a statement.

According to Ako Aotearoa, the other awardees of the night were:

Dr Judith Bateup
Senior Teaching Fellow, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Otago

Dr Margaret Brunton
Associate Professor, School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing, Massey University

Associate Professor Martin East
Faculty of Education and Social Work, The University of Auckland

Dr Megan Gibbons
Head of School, Institute of Sport and Adventure, Otago Polytechnic

Associate Professor Tracey McIntosh Kaupapa Māori category
Faculty of Arts, The University of Auckland

Dr Azra Moeed
Senior Lecturer, School of Education, Victoria University of Wellington

Richard Nyhof
Principal Lecturer, School of Engineering, Otago Polytechnic

James Oldfield
Senior Lecturer, Learning Capability Developer, Unitec Institute of Technology

Professor Jacinta Ruru Kaupapa Māori category
Faculty of Law, The University of Otago

Matthew Thompson
Senior Lecturer, Architecture, Building and Engineering, Otago Polytechnic

Professor Darryl Tong
Department of Oral Diagnostics and Surgical Sciences, The University of Otago

Dr Rachel Zajac
Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology, The University of Otago