Hamilton Public Lecture Series - Professor Tahu Kukutai

Date Tuesday 16 April 2019
Time 5:45pm - 7pm
Where Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, University of Waikato, Gate 2B, Knighton Road, Hamilton
Presenter Professor Tahu Kukutai
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Admission Cost Free

From Populations to Peoples - Professor Tahu Kukutai

Demography – the scientific study of human populations – has traditionally been done from the desktop, applying statistical models to large data sets such as the Census. Professor Tahu Kukutai’s approach is flipping that on its head. “I started off doing research on populations. Now I’m more interested in doing research about people and using data to tell their stories.”

In the second of this year’s Hamilton Public Lectures, Professor Kukutai talks about how she is blending her passion for demography and Indigenous data sovereignty to craft a new approach to Indigenous population research. “Māori, like other Indigenous peoples, are often the objects of demographic inquiry. Rarely are we the ones collecting and managing our own data; doing our own analysis; telling our own stories. I’m trying to change that.”

If you think demography is all about statistics, think again. A former journalist, Professor Kukutai came to Waikato University to study history. “I’m a words person who stumbled into numbers. I was initially scared of statistics and not keen on demography. Now it’s the power of data and numbers that draws me.”

Professor Kukutai is from the Waikato town of Ngāruawāhia and affiliates to Ngāti Tīpā, Ngāti Mahanga, Ngāti Kinohaku and Te Aupōuri. She has degrees in History and Demography from the University of Waikato, and a PhD in Sociology from Stanford University. She is Vice-President of the Population Association of New Zealand Council, a founding member of Te Mana Raraunga, the Māori data sovereignty network, and a member of the Chief Science Advisor Forum.

The Hamilton Public Lecture Series introduces our newest professors to the community and gives them a chance to demonstrate how their work is having a real impact on the world around us.

All lectures are free, open to the public and held at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. Drinks and nibbles are provided from 5:15pm, prior to the lecture beginning at 5:45pm.