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Dismay at funding decision for Māori Research

Dismay at funding decision for Māori Research

New Zealand’s leading Māori researchers and scholars are dismayed and shocked at a decision by the Royal Society of New Zealand not to shortlist the world’s only Māori and Indigenous Centre of Research Excellence, Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (NPM), in a current funding round.

On Saturday the Director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, Professor Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal received email confirmation that the Centre of Research Excellence he heads is out of the running for future funding, affecting more than 100 of the country’s pre-eminent researchers engaged in research to benefit Māori communities. The centre is now set to close in 2015 unless other arrangements can be made.

Professor Royal says that the decision of the Royal Society of New Zealand not to shortlist NPM has come as “a great blow to research concerning needs and opportunities facing Māori communities and is extraordinarily short-sighted in view of New Zealand’s future needs, aspirations and goals.” Professor Royal added that he “felt particularly sad for the many Māori communities located throughout New Zealand with whom we conduct our research and for whom it is designed to benefit.”

Established in 2002, NPM is a network of world class indigenous development researchers conducting research in partnership with Māori communities on matters of deep importance to them. In its first years, NPM focused upon increasing the scale and ability of the research system to conduct Māori relevant research. “It was a massive task”, says Professor Royal, “and our goal of 500 Māori PhDs symbolises the focus of that time.”

Since 2010, NPM research focused upon three research priorities concerning Māori economic development, fostering healthy and prosperous whānau and enhancing Māori distinctiveness, particularly mātauranga Māori. “Significant research was conducted in this period and continues in 2014 on major questions facing our communities like models for educational success, traditional child rearing practices, Māori language revitalisation, resilience of whānau following the Christchurch earthquakes, the restoration of the marine environment following the Rena grounding in Tauranga, Māori men’s health, markers and models of flourishing whānau and much more.”

The goal of the new proposal for NPM was to accelerate and integrate Māori development through harmonising economic, social/cultural and environmental goals. “Its purpose was to bring about an entirely new era for Māori communities by developing an integrated model of development whereby these communities further their contributions to their own and New Zealand’s national development.”

Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (NPM) is a Centre of Research Excellence consisting of 16 participating research entities and hosted by the University of Auckland. NPM conducts research of relevance to Māori communities and is an important vehicle by which New Zealand continues to be a key player in global indigenous research and affairs. Its research is underpinned by the vision to realise the creative potential of Māori communities and to bring about positive change and transformation in the nation and wider world. Visit www.maramatanga.ac.nz

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