Dame Judith Binney has traversed cultural and academic barriers to produce writing that sets a benchmark for historical scholarship in New Zealand. Her work has informed New Zealanders about the relationships between Maori and Pakeha and demonstrated the dynamic history of our country. Dame Judith Binney’s relationship with the people of Tuhoe afforded her a closeness to their stories that was reflected in the respect with which she treated them.
This was shown in her early work Mihaia, a short biography of Rua Kenana, published in 1979; Redemption Songs, her ambitious biography of Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki , published in 1995 and her most recent work Encircled Lands, 2010. These seminal works exemplify Dame Judith Binney’s ability to balance western academic traditions and Maori oral history to create a unique way of telling New Zealand history.
Tuhoe honoured Dame Judith Binney with the title of endearment, “Te Tomairangi o te aroha/ Tears of love”.
Judith Binney was member of the Creative New Zealand Arts Council from 2009-2010.