'lonely, isolated, and struggling to be heard'
Walking the long, colonial halls of Otago University law faculty, its once “lonely only” Māori academic is looked down upon by portraits of Pākehā professors.
There is nothing obviously indigenous displayed in the law faculty of the country’s oldest university.
Professor of law Jacinta Ruru, Raukawa/Ngāti Ranginui, has for more than 20 years walked those halls that don’t leave anyone feeling comfortable being Māori.
Founded by settlers more than 150 years ago, institutional racism is woven into more than just the university’s bricks and mortar. It is inherent in Aotearoa's entire tertiary sector, she says.
Ruru has co-edited a “call for action” to tertiary institutions about the growing frustration, alienation and deep hurt of 24 Māori academics, in a new book Ngā Kete Mātauranga.