Our History with the Kīngitanga
Each year the University celebrates its commitment to kaupapa and tikanga Māori on Kīngitanga Day, which is an opportunity for students, staff and the wider community to celebrate the University’s distinctive identity, heritage and relationships.
When the historic Tainui Treaty of Waitangi settlement was signed in 1995, the land the University is built on was returned to Māori. Before then though, the University of Waikato had already established strong relationships with Māori in general, and Waikato-Tainui in particular.
In 1965, just a year after the University of Waikato was established, Kīngitanga head King Koroki invited founding Chancellor and Hamilton Mayor Denis Rogers, along with 20 University of Waikato students to Tūrangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia.
Here, the King presented the University of Waikato with a carved taonga to be used as ceremonial mace. The piece was carved by master carver Piri Poutapu and today sits in pride of place at the head of the University Council chamber.
Following the passing of King Koroki in 1966, the relationship continued to flourish with his daughter Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu – who was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Waikato in 1979 – taking over the mantle of leading the Kīngitanga. Te Arikinui’s step-brother, Sir Robert Te Kotahi Mahuta, worked to establish the Centre for Māori Studies and Research as part of the School of Social Sciences in 1972, and became its first director.
Kīngi Tuheitia Paki was crowned in 2006 and Waikato University has had the privilege of educating the King's youngest child, Ngāwai Hono I Te Po. Our connection remains forged with two Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies staff members on the King's Tekau-ma-Rua (Advisory Board).
Lectures, workshops and tutorials are not held on Kīngitanga Day to allow all staff and students – along with members of the community − to take part in the activities and events.