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Paul Tapsell

Te Arawa.


Paul, son of Quentin Taiporutu Tapsell was raised in the Bay of Plenty and Waikato. As a student he worked summers in the dairy, steel and kiwifruit industries. His customary Maori knowledge was passed to him by elders from Maketu, Te Puke and Ohinemutu. They used taonga to provide him a formative understanding of the deeper responsibilities obligations, accountabilities and duties associated with maintaining depopulated tribal marae communities, all of which continue to experience deep seated economic poverty. His higher academic qualifications include BA, MA (Hons 1st class: Social Anthropology) and PGDip Business Management (Maori Development) at University of Auckland; and DPhil (Museum Ethnography) at Oxford University. He has had a distinguished career working as a curator (Rotorua Museum, 1990-1994), museum executive (Auckland Museum, 2000-2008, Museums Victoria 2017-2018), tribal representative and Treaty negotiator (Te Arawa 2002-2015); Chair of an Ahu Whenua Maori land block (Rotohokahoka DNth4D, 2012-2015); Director of a charitable organisation (, linking at-risk Maori youth to their tribal marae (Te Potiki National Trust est 2009) and as an academic, first at University of Auckland (adjunct senior lecturer in Museums and Cultural Heritage, 2000-2008); as Dean of Te Tumu, and Professor and Chair of Maori Studies at University of Otago (2009-2017); and then as Director of Indigenous Studies Program at University of Melbourne (2018-2020).  Today he is a Principal of Takarangi Research (NZ) while also an Honorary Professorial Fellow at both ANU and University of Melbourne (AUS).


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