Waikato University psychology professors Jane and James Ritchie developed close links with their local Māori community early in their academic careers. James Ritchie learned to speak Māori in the 1950s and loved to take part in haka. Jane’s work on preschool education for Māori children contributed to the development of kōhanga reo (Māori-language pre-schools). The couple founded Waikato University's Centre for Māori Studies and Research in the early 1970s. James Ritchie later became a trusted political advisor to the Kīngitanga (Māori King movement), and a close friend of its most senior representatives.
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