Faculty of Science - Leading creativity and innovation in the sciences


Spotlight on Daniel Hikuroa


Dan graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Geology in 1996; a Postgraduate Diploma in Science in 1999; and a PhD in Geology in 2004

Daniel Hikuroa standing outside, with the ocean in the background

“I am currently the Research Director for Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (NPM) – New Zealand’s Māori National Centre of Research Excellence (www.maramatanga.ac.nz), and have been since mid-2011. My key responsibility is implementing the NPM Research Strategy.

“I am also involved in a number of community roles, including ; hāpu representative member on both the Waitomo Caves Management Committee and Waitomo Caves Environmental Advisory Group; independent scientific advisor for Ngāti Makino and on the Science Advisory Panel for the ‘SouthSci’ Participatory Science Platform project. I also serve on the Advisory Board for the International Science in Society Journal and corresponding conference.

“As a student, I was involved with the Tuākana programme both as a teina and as a mentor. Back then (in Geology), the programme was run on an ‘aroha’ basis, where Stage IV students would mentor and provide practical tutorial type assistance to the Stage III students; Stage III students would mentor and provide practical tutorial type assistance to the Stage II students, and so on.

“One of the benefits of this approach was that the students who had most recently sat the tests and written the assignments were best placed to assist.

“We never had large numbers of Māori in Geology, so another benefit was that it encouraged a real whanau atmosphere.

“While it is impossible for me to quantify whether my involvement in the Tuākana programme has contributed to my career trajectory, I can definitely say that it assisted me in achieving my degree, and some of the skills I learnt as a Tuākana I continue to use today."