Professor Rawinia Higgins (Tūhoe) is the Head of School of Te Kawa a Māui, School of Māori Studies and Assistant Vice-Chancellor Māori Research at Victoria University. She is Co-Principal Investigator of Te Kura Roa (with Associate Professor Poia Rewi, a three year Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga funded Pae Tawhiti Initiative that examines the value of the Māori Language. She leads Whaihua, the Community project in collaboration with Te Ataarangi and Te Kōhanga Reo. She served on the governance boards of Te Kotahi a Tūhoe and the Tūhoe Fisheries Charitable Trust. She is currently a board member of Te Māngai Pāho and is a member of the Waitangi Tribunal. She is currently the Chair of the Māori Language Advisory Group to the Minister of Māori Development and the NZQA review of Māori Language Qualifications. She is also a member of the advisory group for the Treaty of Waitangi Settlements' History project for the Ministry of Culture and Heritage and an executive member of MASS, Māori Association of Social Science.
Professor Higgins studied at Victoria University and completed her post-graduate degrees at the University of Otago. Her MA thesis was written in te reo Māori and examined the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren and her PhD thesis examined the identity politics of moko kauae. Her research is entrenched in Māori Studies with a particular focus on the language and culture. Using these cultural paradigms, her work highlights the value of the language and Māori knowledge within modern academic discourse.