Canterbury appoints Ratuva as first Te Amorangi in Pacific leadership team

Fiji's Distinguished Professor Steven Ratuva
Fiji's Distinguished Professor Steven Ratuva with a stack of Pacific Journalism Review editions . . . another trailblazing "first" for Pasifika in Aotearoa New Zealand. Image: Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies/UOC

Asia Pacific Report

Distinguished Professor Steven Ratuva has added yet another first to his long list of accomplishments, becoming the University of Canterbury’s first Te Amorangi, or pro-vice-chancellor Pacific.

The university’s Tumu Whakarae vice-chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey has confirmed the appointment of Dr Ratuva, director of the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, to UC’s senior leadership team, a UC News statement said.

“It is an honour to have an outstanding scholar appointed to this new role, solidifying our commitment to increasing visibility and outcomes for our Pasifika students and staff,” Professor De la Rey said.

Distinguished Professor Steven Ratuva on the FT front page
Distinguished Professor Steven Ratuva . . . featured on the front page of The Fiji Times last week for his assessment of the state of play with the opposition FijiFirst and Fiji national politics. Image: The Fiji Times screenshot APR

Distinguished Professor Ratuva’s appointment was made in alignment with the university’s Pasifika Strategy, which was endorsed by the UC Council in 2018.

The strategy aspires to ensure Pasifika students realise a strong sense of belonging and are supported to develop academic goals of success, with the richness of their cultural heritage enhanced, valued and nurtured.

In recent years, Distinguished Professor Ratuva’s work has been recognised with a UC Research Medal (2019) — the university’s highest honour — and the Royal Society of New Zealand-Te Apārangi’s Metge Medal (2020), the country’s highest award in social science research excellence.

Dr Ratuva, originally from the Suva-based University of the South Pacific, was the first Pacific person and foreign national to win both of the esteemed and highly contested awards.

In 2021, he became the first Pacific person to be named a distinguished professor.

“It is gratifying to designate a Pacific representative of such calibre to the university’s senior leadership team, and I look forward to working alongside Distinguished Professor Ratuva on the strategy for Pacific development, and its implementation,” Professor De la Rey said.

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