Paul Tapsell

Te Arawa.
University of Otago.

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. In his twenties he travelled the world, picking up part time jobs in the hospitaility industry when not chasing his passion of competitive skiing. In his late 20s, Paul returned home to study, in time becoming Ranginui Walker's head tutor at University of Auckland. His primary NZ supervisors included Sir Hugh Kawharu, Dame Anne Salmond, Hamuera T. Mitchell and Hikooterangi Hohepa. 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), tribal representative and Treaty negotiator (Te Arawa 2002-2015); Chair of an Ahu Whenua Maori land block (Rotohokahoka DNth4D, 2012-current); Director of a charitable organisation, linking at-risk Maori youth to their tribal marae (Te Potiki National Trust) and as an academic, first at University of Auckland (adjunct senior lecturer in Museums and Cultural Heritage, 2000-2008) and then as Dean (2009-2012), Professor and Chair of Maori Studies (2009-current) at University of Otago. Paul is invited worldwide to speak on New Zealand's Maori point of difference, building on his many published articles, chapters and award winning books. On occasion he will publicly comment on matters of national importance from a Maori tribal perspective. His current research interests include national identity in 21st century New Zealand, cultural heritage, museums and repatriation, integration of Maori values in NZ's governance and operational policy frameworks, Indigenous entrepreneurial leadership, and how genealogical knowledge of the Maori world potentially provides NZ a uniquely inclusive social, political and economic edge on the global stage. Visit to gain some insight of Paul's socially responsible research outputs.


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