Professor Rawinia Higgins was appointed Te Tumu Ahurei (Māori) / Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori) of Victoria University of Wellington in 2016. She was previously Victoria’s Assistant Vice-Chancellor Māori Research and Head of School for Te Kawa a Māui / School of Māori Studies and went to Victoria as a senior lecturer in 2009 after holding academic positions at the University of Otago for 12 years. Her research expertise is Māori language revitalisation and, more specifically, language planning and policy.
She was Co-Principal Investigator of Te Kura Roa, the three year Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga Pae Tawhiti initiative on the value of the Māori language which examined state and community responsiveness to Māori language revitalisation efforts in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Professor Higgins is a board member of NPM, a member of the Waitangi Tribunal, a board member of Te Mātāwai, and is the Deputy Chair of the Māori Knowledge and Development PBRF portfolio.
In 2015, the Minister for Māori Development appointed her chair of the review of the Māori Language Bill and she helped shape the legislation enacted in April 2016. Te Mātāwai was created as part of the new legislation and governs The Māori Language Strategy dedicated to whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori communities.