Harkness Fellowships Trust welcomes Government investment

The Chairman of the NZ Harkness Fellowships Trust Board, Ross Tanner, has welcomed the announcement by Iain Rennie, State Services Commissioner and Chair of the Board of the Leadership Development Centre, that the Government is to make a $2 million investment in the Trust Board’s Harkness Fellowships programme.

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 1.57.28 PM“We are very grateful to Public Service chief executives, and to the Leadership Development Centre, for this generous endowment”.

The Harkness Fellowships programme has over the last sixty years enabled mid-career professionals who aspire to significant leadership roles within New Zealand, particularly in but not limited to the public sector, to benefit from new ideas, practices and contacts in the US.

The purpose of the Fellowships is to reinforce New Zealand-United States links by enabling aspiring leaders to benefit from a programme of personal study at a US research institution or other organisation.

The Fellowships will also:

  • Enhance the cross-fertilisation of ideas and experience between New Zealand and the United States;
  • Build a connected leadership network on both sides of the Pacific based on enduring relationships, with benefit to both countries; and
  • Build a partnership with the Leadership Development Centre, on behalf of the public sector, to build leadership capability within the public sector in NZ.

Applications for the 2015 Fellowships will be sought later this year.

Questions and answers

1. What are the Harkness Fellowships?

From 1922, The Commonwealth Fund of New York, a philanthropic enterprise established by the Harkness family in 1918, provided Fellowships to enable outstanding graduate students from the UK to spend up to 21 months in the United States to pursue post-graduate training or research.

Following the conclusion of WW2, in the early 1950’s the Fellowship programme was extended to mid- career professionals from a range of countries, including Australia, New Zealand and some continental European countries.

The Fellowship programme in New Zealand has supported over 100 talented people to pursue study and research programmes in the US. Many have gone on to become leaders in their profession and to make outstanding contributions to science and technology, health care and education, economics and public sector leadership.

In 1996, the Board of the Commonwealth Fund decided to focus the Fellowships on health care policy and practice, which was in fact more in keeping with the overall purpose of the Fund itself.

Mindful that the original Harkness Fellowships had enabled a generation of young emerging leaders from both the public and private sectors in New Zealand to benefit from what was a life-changing experience in the United States, a group of New Harkness alumni established The New Zealand Harkness Fellowships Trust (Inc), by a trust deed on 12 December 1997, to support ‘general purpose’ fellowships.

The establishment of this Trust, and its intent to award additional Fellowships for tenure in the US, was endorsed by the Commonwealth Fund. The Trust Board has since inception received strong administrative support from The New Zealand–

United States Educational Foundation, Fulbright New Zealand.

In 2009 the Trust Board resolved to allocate some of its capital each year to support a limited term Fellowship for tenure in the United States, to enable emerging New Zealand leaders in any field of study or vocation (excluding health care policy and practice) to study or research in the US.

Four New Zealand Harkness fellows have since been awarded Fellowships to travel to the US.

2. What is the purpose of the NZ Harkness Fellowship?

The purposes of the Fellowship are to:

• Provide a catalyst for those aspiring to significant leadership roles within New Zealand by enabling them to benefit from new ideas, practices and new contacts in the US.

• Reinforce New Zealand-United States links by enabling these emerging leaders to benefit from a programme of personal study within a stimulating environment while establishing long term relationships;

• Enhance the cross-fertilisation of ideas and experience between New Zealand and the United States; and

• Build a connected leadership network on both sides of the Pacific based on enduring relationships, with benefit to both countries.

3. Who is eligible?

It is anticipated that two Fellowships a year will be awarded, providing there are candidates of excellence who meet the criteria. Applications are open to those from all backgrounds in New Zealand, but one Fellowship annually will be devoted to applicants who have a career focused upon the public sector. There is no fixed age limit but preference is given to applicants in the 25-45 year age range.

4. Who are former Fellows?

Previous New Zealand Harkness Fellows have included managers in the public and private sectors, lawyers, policy analysts, economists, academics, journalists, social scientists, educators, artists, and central and local government officers. A selection of former Fellows includes:

  • Dr Roger Blakeley (former Secretary for the Environment, and Secretary of Internal Affairs), is currently Chief Planning Officer for the Auckland Council, responsible for the Auckland Plan
  • Jo Brosnahan is Director of Leaders for the Future, and Chair of Hunter Downs Development Co Ltd, and Northpower Fibre
  • Rob Cameron is Managing Director of Cameron Partners, an investment banking and private equity firm
  • Peter Douglas is Chief Executive of Te Ohu Kai Moana, the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission
  • Whaimutu Dewes, is Managing director at Whainiho Developments Ltd and a prominent Maori professional director. He is a member of Treasury’s Advisory Board
  • Professor Richard Faull, is a world renowned neuroscientist at the Auckland University Medical School
  • Professor Cynthia Farquhar, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, National Women’s Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand is a leader in women’s health research
  • Hugh Fletcher, is former Chief Executive of Fletcher Challenge, and a prominent businessman
  • Kay Harrison is Manager, International Climate Change and Environment Policy, Ministry for the Environment
  • Peter Hughes is currently Secretary of Education, and former CE of the Ministry of Social Development
  • Andrew Kibblewhite is Chief Executive of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Hon. Shane Jones is former MP, and now Pacific Economic Ambassador.
  • Bridget Liddell, Managing Principal of Fahrenheit 212 Equity, provides leadership to companies seeking to successfully commercialise their products and services in the US.
  • Dr Margot McLean, is Medical Officer of Health, Hutt Valley District Health Board
  • Dr Murray Milner is a former chief engineer at the Post Office and currently chair of the National Health IT Board
  • Professor Ron Paterson, is currently an Ombudsman. He was formerly Professor of Law at Auckland University, and a highly regarded Health and Disability Commissioner
  • Dr Karen Poutasi, is former Director General of Health, currently CE of the NZ Qualifications Authority
  • Kara Puketapu, is a leader of the Te Āti Awa iwi in Waiwhetū, Lower Hutt. He is a former Secretary of Maori Affairs
  • Sir Bruce Robertson is a retired judge of the Court of Appeal and chairman of the Law Commission
  • Ross Tanner, a former Deputy State Services Commissioner, is currently a professional director and consultant
  • Neville Trendle, former Assistant Commissioner of Police, is now a member of the Parole Board
  • Dr Bryce Wilkinson, Director of Capital Economics, is a widely recognised economic researcher and commentator.

Remembered: Ian Baumgart 1920 – 2013

by Ross Tanner

The longevity of the Harkness fellowships means that sadly, from time to time, we have to farewell old friends and fellows.  

One such Fellow, Ian Baumgart QSO, died on Friday 27 September, 2013 at Riverleigh Rest Home in Lower Hutt.

Ian was the Harkness Representative in New Zealand for many years, and in that capacity served as the Chairman of the Selection Panel for many of us who were awarded Fellowships. He and his wife Nesta have been regular attendees at our annual dinners in recent years.

Ian began his career as a soil scientist at the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR). He was quickly promoted to head office in Wellington as Senior Principal Scientific Officer and later to Assistant Director General of the DSIR, where he played a significant role in determining the shape and direction of agricultural and biological research in New Zealand.

In 1962 he was awarded a Harkness Fellowship to study the administration of science at  the Brookings Institution in Washington DC. In 1973 he became New Zealand’s first Commissioner for the Environment.

Upon his retirement in 1980, Ian took on several UN and OECD contractual assignments which involved working in advancing environmental and scientific organization and management programs in various African and Pacific Island countries.

For many years he was an elder in the Presbyterian church, active in local charity activities, president of the Western Hutt Rotary Club, Chairman of the Animal Ethics Advisory Committee, Deputy Chairman of the National Research Advisory Council, and Chairman of the Toxic Substances Board . He was a recipient of the Royal Society of New Zealand Thompson Medal for service to New Zealand science, the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and the Queens Service Order (QSO).

His funeral service was held at St Mark’s Church, Woburn Road, Lower Hutt on Wednesday, 2 October, 2013.


From Facebook to the marae

Dr Acushla Dee O’Carroll’s Fulbright-Harkness Fellowship research trip to the US  in 2013 examined how native Hawaiians and First Nation American indigenous groups use social networks to revitalise and preserve their culture.

Read this Q&A interview to find out more about Dee.

1. In September you departed for the US on your Fulbright-Harkness Fellowship. What research questions did you set off to answer and what did you discover?

The Fulbright-Harkness project set out to investigate how Indigenous peoples in the USA (i.e., Hawaiian and Native American peoples) are using SNS (social networking services). The research aimed to highlight how Indigenous peoples in the USA are navigating and negotiating virtual spaces of SNS for cultural revitalisation and preservation.

It was the hope of the researcher/recipient that this research project would contribute to an under-researched area of study and add new Indigenous insights through providing comparatives and narratives alongside what Māori are doing in the area of culture and social media (which has derived from my doctoral work).

This research project intended to build on the small number of existing scholarship to assist policy makers, educators and cultural practitioners (locally and globally) with powerful insights into the ways in which technology and traditions are fusing together.

The research questions for the project were to;

1. Explore and analyse how Native Hawaiian and First Nation American Indigenous groups are using SNS in cultural ways;

2. Examine and discuss the implications of such Indigenous SNS use in relation to how Māori use SNS, highlighting the similarities and differences; and

3. Investigate community-driven SNS-based strategies for cultural and language revitalisation in communities.

The scope of this research was to gauge how Indigenous communities of the US are engaging with SNS and in considering the impacts on people and culture. It was intended that case studies would be conducted to incorporate a range of diverse generational discussants who were able to provide some insight into how their community/organisation thinks about and understands SNS in relation to Indigenous identity, language, traditions and values.

A bald eagle flew across the beach where we stood, stopped mid flight as if to greet and acknowledge us, swooped into the water to retrieve a fish and then retreated to the beach to feast. The elders of the tribe said that this was an extremely good sign and that our visit to their reservation was honoured by the eagle, who is one of their deities.

2. What were some of the findings of your recent research trip to Hawai’i and Seattle as the 2013 Fulbright-Harkness Fellow?

The significant findings of my research project as part of the Fulbright-Harkness are wide-reaching and continue to be formulated into a publishable paper that is currently underway. Broadly speaking, I was able to present my research to present to over 11 institutions and organisations, met with over 16 individuals and groups to discuss the research in more depth and conducted over 13 interviews with Indigenous users of SNS.

Some of the findings of those interviews discussed the following;


• My research generally raised the awareness amongst Hawaiian communities that social media as a new technology requires much more attention (and research) that what it is currently receiving to ensure that Hawaiian culture and society moves with new media while continuing to keep traditions in tact.

• There are some interesting things happening in social media for Hawaiian language and the promotion of the language. Social media is increasingly becoming a space in which Hawaiian language is being taught and learnt.

• Cultural protocols such as funerals were not generally spoken about as being observed in social media, this may have been due to the limited number of interviews and people I spoke with. However, sharing my research around virtualising funerals and other Māori protocols prompted many Hawaiian communities to reflect and consider how social media is playing or will play a role in the practising of their cultural protocols.

• Social media like Facebook and Twitter were excellent platforms in which political agendas from a minority group (Hawaiian people) were enforced, voiced and mobilised through these media. These media were considered empowering as they gave the people a voice.

• Cultural traditions around hula were being kept in tact through the use of social media. “Tikanga” were being enforced through social media controlled Facebook pages for hula dancers and hula schools, which meant that hula could be taught, learnt, and organised using social media.


• There are a good number of research projects that are just starting to emerge from the US from Native American scholars around this area of research, which is exciting, as there is very little Indigenous research in this field.

• Native American people are doing some extremely interesting things in social media around language revitalisation and in particular, using social media platforms as ways to coordinate and organise groups of people for political movements. The Idle No More campaign as being one of the major social media movements to occur in the past few years.

• Cultural events such as the ‘Canoe Journey’ that happens every year amongst tribes in the Washington State area use social media considerably, to organise cultural events and meetings around this large event occasion. Social media is also used during the event to allow other Native American people across the continent to participate and engage in the event through social media.

• Native American Youth are being targeted through social media by influential musicians (who are Native American) who are making efforts to inspire young people. The use of video and images are being used here also.

• Cultural practices such as funerals were not been widely observed in Native American communities (this may, again, be due to the limited data sample) but note some interesting protocols being virtualised and raising concerns amongst communities.

3. What is your favourite memory of Hawaii?


During my stay in Hawai’i, I made an effort to travel to the outer islands of Kaua’i, Maui and Big Island to meet with people and discuss my research, but to also experience Hawai’i and the Hawaiian culture in some of the older, less populated islands of Hawai’i.

I visited Kaua’i with a few close Hawaiian friends who showed me the island. I was fortunate to stay with an elder who shared many stories and accounts of her time growing up in Hawai’i and sharing in discussion and conversation about the future of Indigenous peoples and how we as leaders of tomorrow play an integral role in securing the future for our generations to come.

Being amongst such an incredible group of inspiring, young and Indigenous agents of change brought an entirely new level of appreciation for this trip and this opportunity. I felt truly connected to my Indigenous brothers and sisters and shared hopes and dreams that we each have for our respective tribes and that together, working in unity and solidarity as Indigenous people, we can achieve this. I also visited Maui and Big Island, where I had similar experiences and conversations with inspiring Hawaiian youth and elders.

Throughout this trip, I also gained an increased appreciation for having a sense of place and a sense of belonging (which I explore in depth within my doctoral studies and how social media plays a role in facilitation that connection to ‘place’). Land and water and connecting to ones environment and place of origin was firmly instilled in my experience in Hawai’i as I observed my Hawaiian brothers and sisters speak about the importance of land for food sovereignty and the mana that they must continue to uphold in regards to their land and water.

These sentiments are of course shared by Māori and I understand them well, however it became much more apparent to me of the issues that we as Indigenous people face and will continue face in our lifetimes around the protection and continuity of our natural resources and how important that responsibility is for us as the leaders of tomorrow, to continue so that there is something left for our children of tomorrow.

Amongst a number of cultural experiences around hula, mele Hawai’i (Hawaiian music), receiving some tā moko (Māori tattoo) while I was in Hawai’i and rekindling old friendships and making new ones – my trip to Hawai’i was profound and unforgettable. I am truly appreciative of the opportunity to have returned to Hawai’i as a Fulbright-Harkness fellow and feel that this latest trip has provided pivotal changes in my life as a researcher and as an Indigenous person.


Admittedly, Seattle was where I worked the most in terms of scheduled meetings, presentations and interviews that were happening most of the day, everyday for the three weeks that I was there. Which was fantastic, as I was able to collect a lot of data and share my research with all who were interested. I did however; find some time to visit a couple of cultural places of significance.

One in particular was the Sklallam Reservation where I visited as part of a group of Native Indigenous scholars from the University of Washington. We visited the reservation as part of a day of activities making artworks from cedar wood. These artworks would be used as gifts for elders and dignitaries who were scheduled to visit the University in October of this year. The visit included sharing in story telling by elders of the trip about the history of the their tribe and the their lands.

We then smoked salmon over the fires on the beach of their reservation. During this time, I was privileged to witness something truly special. A bald eagle flew across the beach where we stood, stopped mid flight as if to greet and acknowledge us, swooped into the water to retrieve a fish and then retreated to the beach to feast. The elders of the tribe said that this was an extremely good sign and that our visit to their reservation was honoured by the eagle, who is one of their deities. I was truly humbled to have witnessed this!

There were many cultural experiences where I felt like I was at home in Aotearoa with my own people, practising my own customs. I truly felt the connection between Indigenous peoples through this trip and my time in Seattle and this experience added so much value to my appreciation of Indigeneity.

There were a plethora of other cultural experiences, but generally felt that I was on a spiritual journey throughout Hawai’i and Seattle as I encountered both professional and personal engagements and experiences – truly a once in a lifetime experience!

4. What is next for you?

I am undergoing the writing of a paper using some of the data that I collected from my Fulbright-Harkness fellowship, I have also just received a Writers Fellowship to continue writing articles deriving from my PhD. Meanwhile, I am in the process of setting up my own business (Māori Research Consultancy).

Native American people are doing some extremely interesting things in social media around language revitalisation and in particular, using social media platforms as ways to coordinate and organise groups of people for political movements.