People around the world have flocked to Twitter to share how the academic work of a University of Waikato professor has impacted their lives.
The hashtag #BecauseofLindaTuhiwaiSmith calls for people to share how the academic work of world-renowned indigenous educator Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith has impacted them.
The hashtag has been used more than 3800 times and was the number one trending hashtag earlier in the week.
Smith was one of a group of academics who authored a 13-page letter addressed to the Ministry of Education, alleging casual and structural racism at the institution.
The university has since announced an independent review.
Professor Joanna Kidman at Victoria University of Wellington says the response on Twitter has been extraordinary and heartwarming.
"What people have wanted to do with this hashtag, #becauseoflindatuhiwaismith, is talk how that scholarship has transformed their lives in all sorts of ways."
Kidman says Māori voices aren't often reflected in universities or academia.
"When something comes along that helps people to explain to themselves, for a start, who they are as indigenous people or indigenous scholars [. . .] that can be a really life-changing thing."
"One of the things I would like to come out of this is for universities to understand that the international academic community is watching us. Universities put a lot into their international reputation," she says.
Tina Ngata, author of Kia Mau: Resisting Colonial Fictions, says people pilgrimage from across the world to meet Professor Smith.
"The response is what it is for no other [reason than the] impact that Linda Tuhiwai Smith has made. It's not because of the catchiness or anything else," she says.
Speaking to media this week, Smith said she told her supporters to "tone it down" on Twitter after information that her contract will not be renewed was made public.
The fact her contract was not renewed was "normal university procedure" and people should not read "evil intent" into the decision, Smith told Stuff.
Anthropologist Keziah Wallis started the hashtag after stories about the impact of Professor Smith's work emerged.
"My journey back to Te Ao Māori was partly through reading her book; gaining the confidence to feel that I had a place and feeling like I could start to learn about our practices and learn how to be Māori," Wallis says.
The hashtag is not about being an "activist drive", Wallis adds.