Dame Claudia Orange
Born in Auckland, Claudia's father was a fluent speaker of te reo Māori, knew Āpirana Ngata and joined the Department of Māori Affairs in Gisborne. She trained and practised as a dental nurse for 15 years before starting university studies, completing her PhD in 1984 at the University of Auckland. From 1975 to 1983, she was a history lecturer at the University of Auckland. She was the general editor of the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography and worked on Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Late in 2003, she became Director of History and Pacific cultures at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and has been the head of research at Te Papa since 2013.
Claudia's 1987 book The Treaty of Waitangi was derived from her 1984 PhD thesis and won 'Book of the Year at the Goodman Fielder Wattie Book Awards in 1988. Shorter versions of the book have been published for young and non-academic audiences, including the third edition, which was released last month.
In the 1993 New Year Honours, Claudia was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to historical research. In 2009 she was appointed as a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. In 2018 she was made a Companion of the Royal Society Te Apārangi in recognition of her work. In 2021 she received the Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement in Non-fiction.
Claudia is married to Rod and has three adult children.