3 Mar 2016
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Dr Walker was one of New Zealand’s most influential Māori academics. He studied at Auckland University, gaining a Diploma of Teaching in 1962, a Bachelor of Arts in 1962 and a Master of Arts in 1966.
He was considered one of Māoridom’s most influential academic leaders and advocates for Māori rights and social justice.
Dr Walker was appointed associate professor of Māori studies in the Anthropology Department at Auckland University in 1986. He served as professor of Māori Studies from 1993 to 1997 and Pro-Vice Chancellor (Māori) from 1996-1997.
Besides his numerous papers and chapters in books, Dr Walker published six books: Nga Tau Tohetohe: The Years of Anger (1987), Ka Whawahi Tonu Matou: Struggle without End (1990), Nga Pepa a Ranginui: The Walker Papers (1997), He Tipua: The Life and Times of Sir Apirana Ngata (2001), Opotiki Mai Tawhiti (2007), and Paki Harrison: Tohunga Whakairo. The story of a master carver (2008).
Dr Walker was appointed a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2001 New Year honours list, and in 2007 he was awarded the Te Tohu o te Māramatanga research excellence award, Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (CORE) University of Auckland. In 2009, Professor Walker was awarded a Prime Minister's Literary Award and in 2012 he received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Auckland.
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