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First Māori social scientists academic conference

First academic conference for Māori social scientists

Victoria University will next month host New Zealand’s first academic conference for Māori social scientists, aimed at inspiring and catalysing a network of Māori social scientists.

To be held at Victoria’s Te Herenga Waka Marae, the three-day gathering will include talks from politician and co-leader of the Māori party Hon Tariana Turia, Hon Taihakurei Durie, Moana Jackson, Sir Tipene O’Regan and Hana O’Regan, Chief Judge Joe Williams and Professor Linda Smith.

“This conference, ‘Critical Mass’, will formalise the creation of MASS—the Māori Association of Social Scientists—so it is a New Zealand first in that sense. The conference will signal that the network is about interrogating structured and institutionalised injustice and moving to the point where there is sufficient Māori social science capability to serve the needs of positive Māori development,” says Peter Adds, Head of Victoria’s School of Māori Studies.

The conference is being organised by Victoria’s School of Māori Studies in conjunction with the Māori Association of Social Scientists Interim Steering Group and the Building Research Capability in the Social Sciences Network.

When: June 11-13, 2008
Where: Te Herenga Waka Marae, Victoria University, Kelburn Parade, Wellington

There are three sub-themes for the conference:

What Māori social science is: descriptions, debates and directions. Social science is a broad church within the academy. In the Māori world, systematic and rigorous observation, measurement and examination of social phenomena is an even wider, deeper fabric. We anticipate multiple experiences, viewpoints and orientations and would like to encourage debates that assist us to get a better understanding of the field.

Constraints on Māori social science: issues, barriers and solutions. How do prevailing Pākehā economic and social forces shape the organisation and activities of Māori social scientists? We will hear about the issues facing Māori social scientists, the identification of barriers, suggestions for solving challenges and moving beyond blockages.

A new network goes fishing: Māori social science research synergies in the 21st century. What linkages, networks and clusters of Māori social scientists already exist and how can these be further engaged in the development of a national network? We will hear about existing networks or clusters of Māori social scientists that are working well to contribute to transformative research and development. After the presentations we will consider how the proposed national network of Māori social scientists can best serve the development of a strong and active sector to advance the broad aims expressed above.


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