Who goes to Oxford University in 1923? Mākareti Papakura! – New Zealand Herald

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June Grant, a mokopuna of Mākareti Papakura. Photo / Whakaata Māori
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The first Māori woman to attend Oxford University died before the completion of her Bachelor of Science in Anthropology.
Over a century later, June Grant, a mokopuna of Mākareti Papakura, travelled to Oxford to commemorate her kuia and requested that an honorary doctorate be awarded posthumously.
Grant says although her kuia died prior to the completion of her mahi, she was lucky enough to have a good friend, TK Penniman, who promised to publish her work once she had died.
“So eight years following her death, TK Penniman took it upon himself, took her work to Wāhiao for her elders to look at and published her book.”
Grant delivered a presentation about her ancestor as part of an invitation to honour Mākareti’s expertise and research in the hope that she would be adequately acknowledged for all of her efforts.
She says since The Old-Time Māori was the first extensive published ethnographic work by a Māori scholar, she hopes this achievement is enough for Oxford to present her kuia with her doctorate.
Grant says the university is looking at the request and has said it could take months to years to consider.
She says whatever unfolds, the kuia will always be held in high regard by all her mokopuna.
“She has taught us to take every opportunity as a gift, since life can be very short.”

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