Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori provides strategic advice to ensure Victoria University of Wellington meets its obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi.

Rawinia profile picture

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Maori)
PVC Maori/Iwi Studies

Professor Rawinia Higgins was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori / Tumu Ahurei of Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington in 2016. She was previously Victoria’s Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Māori Research) and Head of School for Te Kawa a Māui / School of Māori Studies. Professor Higgins came to Victoria as a senior lecturer in 2009 after holding academic positions at the University of Otago for 12 years. Her research expertise is Māori language revitalisation and, more specifically, language planning and policy. Professor Higgins is a member of the Waitangi Tribunal, Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga (Māori Centre of Research Excellence), and is the Deputy-Chair of the Māori Knowledge and Development PBRF portfolio. Prior to this appointment, she was a board member of Te Mātāwai. In 2015, the Minister for Māori Development appointed her chair of the Māori Language Advisory Group which shaped the Māori Language legislation enacted in April 2016. Te Mātāwai was created as part of the new legislation and governs the Māori Language Strategy dedicated to whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori communities. In 2017, Rawinia was awarded the Te Waitī award for te reo and tikanga at the Matariki awards. In 2018, the Minister for Māori Development appointed her chair of the Māori Language Commission, Te Taura Whiri.  Professor Higgins is the first woman to be appointed to this position. In April 2021, Professor Higgins was inducted as a 2020 Fellow of the Royal Society Te Apārangi,

Meegan profile picture

Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Matauranga Maori) · Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Mātauranga Māori)
PVC Māori/Iwi Studies · DVC (Māori) team

Associate Professor Meegan Hall provides strategic academic leadership to increase awareness and grow engagement with mātauranga Māori across the University in learning, teaching and research. She is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (now Advance HE), a Principal Investigator for Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence, and an Executive member of the Māori Association of Social Science. Her research focuses on Māori in higher education, which combines her interest in learning and teaching with her disciplinary background in Māori studies and her previous academic development work with Māori academic staff and students.

Rhonda Thomson

Pou Hapai - Senior Adviser
PVC Māori/Iwi Studies

  • 021827032
  • RS 201, Robert Stout Building, Gate 2, Kelburn Parade

Pou Hapai - Senior Adviser · Mata Awhirangi - Āwhina Manager
PVC Maori/Iwi Studies

Poutini Ngāi Tahu, Rhonda is the Pou Hāpai / Senior Advisor in the Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor Māori at Te Herenga Waka―Victoria University of Wellington.  Rhonda is also a co-project manager of the Living Pā―a project that will see the University’s marae precinct redeveloped into one of the most environmentally responsible hubs in the world.

Prior to her roles at the university, Rhonda worked in the housing, local government and education sectors in funding, policy and project management roles.


Cecilia profile picture

Cecilia Tuiomanufili

Maori Scholarships and Relationships Coordinator · Pouhere
PVC Maori/Iwi Studies · Office of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori)

Cecilia Tuiomanufili is the Māori Scholarships and Relationships Coordinator who manages the scholarship funds for the Taihonoa programme. She is a connector of people, fostering engagement between the Iho (Te Herenga Waka) and the Pae (Iwi partners, Māori organisations, Stakeholders) and facilitates iwi-led initiatives that benefit tauira Māori on their education journey while studying at Te Herenga Waka.

Cecilia manages a portfolio of 70 plus Taihonoa partners. She provides administration support to partners by providing relevant correspondence and templates to process payments, assists in setting up new scholarships, facilitates matched-funding (dual and tripartite) arrangements, provides iwi data profiles, seeks student cohort expertise for internship opportunities, promotes iwi initiatives and events, coordinates Iwi-led events that connects tauira Māori to Iwi, and connects Taihonoa partners to Te Herenga Waka expertise for research opportunities and engagement.

Prior to working in this role, Cecilia was Executive Assistant to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori) for 14 years. Cecilia is a seasoned Executive Assistant providing executive support to Chief Executives and Senior Management for over 25 years. She has extensive experience with all administrative tasks, having held Executive Assistant positions in the business, government and tertiary education fields. Cecilia has found these skills invaluable in her role as Pouhere.

Linda profile picture

Linda Bowden

Executive Assistant and Office Manager
PVC Maori/Iwi Studies