Linda Smith was born in Whakatāne and attended primary schools in Minginui, Waimarama, Whakawhitira and Whatawhata. She continued her schooling at Waikato Diocesan and Auckland Girls’ Grammar, as well as spending some time in an American high school. From 1974-75, she trained as a teacher at Auckland Primary Teachers’ College and graduated with a Diploma of Teaching in 1975. From 1976-84, Smith taught in three multicultural intermediate schools: Arahanga in South Auckland, Kowhai in Central Auckland, and Avondale in West Auckland. She then took up the position of Guidance Counsellor at Auckland Girls’ Grammar School from Alongside teaching, Smith furthered her studies at the University of Auckland, graduating with a B.A. (1975), an MA (First Class Hons) (1987) and a PhD in Education (1996).
In 1986 she was appointed Research Co-ordinator of the Family Management of Asthma project team at the Department of Respiratory Medicine, Greenline Hospital. In 1987 she took up a Senior Lectureship (half-time) in the Education Department at Auckland University; in 1991 this was converted into a full-time position. In 1997 Smith was appointed Associate Professor in the Education Department and from 1998-2002 was Director of the International Research Institute for Māori and Indigenous Education IRI. In 2001 Smith was appointed to a Personal Chair – Professor of Education at the University of Auckland. In the following year, she became Joint Director of Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga (Horizons of Insight) The National Institute of Research Excellence in Māori Development and Advancement - a Centre of Research Excellence hosted by the University of Auckland.
Smith has been a visiting scholar at various tertiary institutions including the University of Wisconsin, the Ontario Institute of Education, and the First Nations House of Learning at the University of British Columbia (1999). She was Adjunct Faculty Member of the Roy Wilkins Forum, Hubert Humphreys Institute, University of Minnesota from 1997-2001. She was a visiting scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2003) and the University of Washington (2004), and was a Noted Scholar at the University of British Columbia (2004).
Smith has been employed as an education consultant for Te Puna Kokiri in Wellington. In 2002 she was convenor of “Researching With Others”, a multidisciplinary conference on research at Waipapa Marae, University of Auckland. In 2004 she was co-convenor with Associate Professor Michael Walker of “Traditional Knowledge and Research Ethics” at Te Papa National Museum.
From 1984-1989, she was a member of Te Komiti O Nga Kura Kaupapa Māori O Tamaki Makaurau and in 1984 was a founding member of the establishment group for Kura Kaupapa Māori. From 1989-2000, she was a member of Te Matawhanui – National Organisation of Māori University Teachers.
Smith writes non-fiction articles, chapters, publications, keynote speeches and short stories. Her PhD thesis is on the development of literacy in Māori language. She was editor of Te Pua (the journal of Māori Women’s Writing at Auckland University) in 1991.
Smith has received various awards including the Senior prize in Education in 1985, Churchill Fellowship in 1991, the 1998 Jean Herbison Lecture (Award) New Zealand Association of Research in Education NZARE, the 1998 Te Tohu Pae Tawhiti, New Zealand Association for Research in Education NZARE Inaugural award for Research Excellence in Māori Education, she was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2013, for services to Māori and education, and in 2015 she received the NZ Association for Research in Education: McKenzie award for making a significant contribution to educational research and to the NZARE over an extended period of time.
- Correspondence with Professor Linda Smith, 5 May 1993, and 29 Nov. 2004.
http://www.maoritelevision.com/news/education/linda-tuhiwai-smith-acknowledged-contribution-maori-education 9 September 2016