Kia ora tātou. Greetings to us all. Ko Aroha Harris ahau.
I am Aroha Harris. I belong to the Te Rarawa and Ngāpuhi iwi (tribes/peoples) of the Far North of Aotearoa New Zealand. I am a senior lecturer in History, School of Humanities, at the University of Auckland. I am also a member of the Waitangi Tribunal, the permanent commission of inquiry established in 1975 to inquire into Māori claims about breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi.
I have been attending NAISA’s annual meetings since the 2007 gathering at the University of Georgia which formalized the association. I am disappointed that I cannot attend the meeting in Honolulu this year, the year I have agreed to stand for President-elect. However, I am also somewhat intrigued that as an Indigenous historian I find myself torn between two great conferences – NAISA and Pacific History Association – both in the Pacific, on the same days. Choice is a good thing, though this particular choice is one I have never faced before.
What draws me to NAISA are the opportunities to connect – socially, academically and politically – with Indigenous scholars in our various projects that imagine, empower and map the Indigenous worlds to which we belong. In that respect, my participation in NAISA to date reflects and extends my commitments to iwi. For example, I have been involved for some years in a range of Te Rarawa research and development projects, including research aligned to the negotiation and settlement of our historical Treaty claims. In my academic pursuits, I am keen to support graduate students in their studies, and to encourage emerging scholars in historical studies and the humanities more generally. I am a long-standing and dedicated participant in Te Pouhere Kōrero, the national collective of Māori historical scholars, enthusiastic about developing the field of Māori history, both in the academy and among Māori communities. These are a few of the interests and commitments that I bring with me to NAISA. Running for President-elect offers an opportunity for me to turn those interests to the service of the NAISA community. I acknowledge the growth and continuity so soundly established by NAISA councils and members so far, and I hope to add to that good work. I am particularly interested in contemplating and supporting the inter-Indigenous nature and practice of NAISA activities.