Auckland University of Technology senior lecturer Ella Henry was proudly awarded the Dame Mira Szaszy Maori Alumni Award by the University of Auckland Business School recently.
Part of the Aotearoa NZ Māori Business Leaders Awards, the Dame Szaszy Māori Alumni award recognises Business School graduates for their outstanding achievement and excellence in tribal and business endeavours nationwide and internationally.
An alumnus of the University of Auckland Business School, and a senior lecturer in Māori Media at AUT’s Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Development, Henry was nominated by a selection committee for her research work in Māori entrepreneurship and Māori media.
The award came as a surprise for Henry.
I was nominated by their selection committee, and did not know until I was told I had won it.
“It is a great honour, particularly given that my mother was from Ngāti Kuri in the Far North, so she was a relative of Dame Mira Szazy, the first Māori woman to graduate from the University of Auckland and previous President of the Māori Women’s Welfare League.”
For Henry, the award reinforces the power of research in particular.
“My PhD research on Māori entrepreneurship proved, beyond doubt, that successful entrepreneurial endeavour is predicated on self-belief, and a community that supports and encourages you. In the case of Māori entrepreneurship, there is also a strong desire to make a difference for our people, and to be a part of the revitalisation of our culture and language.”
Upon receiving the award, Henry also thanked her family and AUT University for supporting her research.
“I am only able to achieve the things I do because of the support of my whanau, in particular my three wonderful daughters.
“I have also been employed by Te Ara Poutama since 2009, and our Dean, Professor Pare Keiha, is instrumental in enabling us to be active in our tribal communities and other organisations, supports our research endeavours and provides an empowering and inspirational environment for our staff and students. So, thank you to him and my colleagues in Te Ara Poutama for supporting me in my research and work with the community.”