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Maori At The Cutting Edge Of Research Excellence

Mäori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia said it is awesome that two of the five successful Centres of Research Excellence (CoRE) have significant Mäori research components.

Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey announced today the five centres that have been chosen to receive funding from the government’s new $60m CoRE fund.

Mr Horomia said the announcement is a great honour for all of the researchers involved in the five CoRE, and for the Maori researchers who have often had to chart a difficult course in order to be recognised as excellent by their peers.

“It is often difficult for Maori and other indigenous researchers because they are often developing new methodologies, processes and parameters which are not always accepted by research institutions. The selection of Nga Pae o te Maramatanga indicates that New Zealand is prepared to be at the cutting edge of indigenous research.”

“I am pleased that the Centre is a collaboration of University and Whare Wananga researchers. The involvement of Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi and Te Wananga o Aotearoa will ensure the benefits of the research will be shared with students outside of the urban centres. I want to congratulate Doctor Linda Smith and Dr Michael Walker for assembling this outstanding team of Mäori researchers. I believe that the CoRE will truly make a difference,” said Mr Horomia.

The Minister of Mäori Affairs also acknowledged and congratulated the Mäori component of the Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery.

“This center for Research Excellence is also based at Auckland University and includes the research team of Dr Garth Cooper, whose work in Maori diabetes can now be progressed even further.”

“Maori need to be participating at all levels and across the spectrum of the Sciences. The fact that they are well represented in the CoRE acknowledges that they can and should be there,” said Mr Horomia.

Nga Pae o te Maramatanga (Horizons of Insight)
The National Institute of Research Excellence for Maori Development and Advancement
Host Institution: University of Auckland, Directors: Professor L. Smith (09) 373 7599 extn 2391, and Associate Professor M. Walker (09) 373 7599 extn 2391
Partners: Te Whare Wananga O Awanuiarangi, Te Wananga O Aotearoa, Victoria University of Wellington, University of Otago, University of Waikato, Landcare Research

The National Institute of Research Excellence for Maori Development and Advancement will focus and build on Maori strengths in education, health and science. It plans to bring together Maori and western intellectual traditions and experience to generate new knowledge that will lead to new technologies and significantly improve socio-economic outcomes for Maori. It will achieve this by (1) drawing on Maori and mainstream knowledge and thought to raise standards of research; (2) improving uptake of research through engagement with Maori social structures; and (3) expanding and deepening both Maori and national research capability. The Institute’s planned research programme includes expanding current research activities in (1) new building materials for cheaper, warmer housing; (2) young people’s views of schooling and society; and (3) fundamental studies of the processes underlying diseases, such as diabetes, to which Maori are genetically predisposed.

Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery
Host Institution: University of Auckland, Director: Professor E. Baker (09) 373 7599 extn 4415

The Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery comprises a cluster of five leading research groups at the University of Auckland with complementary expertise in science, engineering and medicine. The Centre will focus on the use of new technology for genomic discovery and on the innovative development of new medicines for infectious disease, diabetes and cancer, based on new findings in molecular biology.
Proteins are molecules that perform essential processes in organisms and affecting their function is useful in altering disease states. The structure of key proteins will be determined and used to design and develop new synthetic drugs as well as to enable the development of models that mimic how they function in cells. The Centre’s links with major pharmaceutical companies ensure the commercialisation of new discoveries and consequent economic benefits to New Zealand.

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