Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal is a researcher, author, and teacher of indigenous knowledge/mātauranga Māori, and a composer and performer of music and story.
Charles' most recent research project, (2020-22), is called Te Kawa Waiora. It explored tangata whenua views of the Wairoa River, in Te Tai Tokerau, particularly regarding ways by which those communities may contribute to improving the health and wellbeing of this greatly degraded river. He is currently a member of a research team undertaking a new iwi-led research project concerning the health, wellbeing and mauri of the Hauraki Gulf: Pou rāhui, pou tikanga, pou oranga: reigniting the mauri of Tīkapa Moana and Te Moananui-ā-Toi (2022 to 2027).
Charles is passionate about the creative potential of indigenous knowledge and communities, which he explores through research, teaching and advising, as well as through art. Charles established Ōrotokare: Art, Story, Motion Trust in 2004, and began creating a modern version of the whare tapere (pre-European ‘houses’ of storytelling, music, games, puppetry, dance and other entertainment), which he achieved in 2010-14. He is working on creating a long term, sustainable whare tapere in his home community of Kaiaua-Wharekawa in western Hauraki.
Previously Charles was member of the Executive Leadership of Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, Professor of Indigenous Development and Director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga at the University of Auckland, and Director of Graduate Studies and Research, Te Wānanga-o-Raukawa, Ōtaki.
Charles belongs to Marutūahu, Ngāti Raukawa and Ngā Puhi.
B.Mus (Hons) Victoria University of Wellington (1989), MPhil Massey University (1991), PhD Victoria University of Wellington (1998). Former EcoQuest Trustee.