Northern National Event

Sir Sidney Mead

Professor Sir Sidney Mead, Aotearoa Professor Sir Sidney (Hirini) Moko Mead (Ngāti Awa, Tūhoe, Tūwharetoa, Tūhourangi), is an esteemed scholar, traditional leader and innovative thinker who is responsible for many ground-breaking initiatives to further Māori culture, language and education. He received his PhD in Anthropology from Southern Illinois University, and taught at universities including McMaster University in  Ontario, the University of British Columbia, and Victoria University of Wellington where he created New Zealand’s first department of Māori studies. When Professor Sir Hirini Mead retired from Victoria University, he established a tribal university, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi at Whakatāne, among his people of Ngāti Awa.

He was chief negotiator for the Ngāti Awa claims, settled in March 2005, and is now assisting with the implementation of that settlement. In 2007 Professor Mead was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to Māori and to education. He was knighted in August 2009, and has received countless honours and awards in recognition of his many books and publications. He has given evidence many times in court hearings, select committees and before the Waitaingi Tribunal to support the claims of other iwi and Māori groups seeking proper recognition of their rights under tikanga Māori and the Treaty of Waitangi.

As a foundation member of the NZ Bioethics Council, Hirini developed a set of criteria to help the younger generation use tikanaga Māori (Māori values) to assess new technologies and information such as genetically modified organisms and organ transplants in the context of their traditional cultural beliefs.