Dr Evelyn Mary Stokes was a former professor of geography in the Department of Geography, Tourism and Environmental planning at the University of Waikato for 40 years. She was the longest serving academic staff member at the University of Waikato and a former member of the Waitangi Tribunal. Dr Stokes was a graduate of the Canterbury University College where she gained a master's degree with first class honours in geography, following this achievement she completed her PhD at Syracuse University New York. She also briefly began teaching after completing a postgraduate teacher training course at Christchurch Teachers' College.
As a prolific writer, researcher and teacher her contribution to research and teaching was thoroughly recognised in the field of academia, the community and the country; in 1999, she earned a New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to tertiary education and Māori, and she was also awarded the Distinguished New Zealand Geographer Medal in 2001. Throughout her life she worked toward ensuring marginalised groups including women and Māori were recognised. Thus, in her works she published extensively on the New Zealand historical geography and Māori land issues.
At the University of Waikato, she contributed extensively not only to research and teaching but to the university's immense collections as she presented many of the current collections to the University of Waikato Library.
Over 100 boxes of papers containing her research notes, photographs and books which related to the interests and work of the late Dame Evelyn Stokes was presented by her family to the University of Waikato Library. The major topics which were covered in her collection include: Geothermal, Māori land, mining, New Zealand geographic board, personal correspondence etc., research, content relating to the University and Waitangi Tribunal Claims.
First NameEvelynMiddle NameMary Last NameStokesDate of Birth5th December 1936Date of Death15th August 2005