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Research announcement welcomed

Research announcement welcomed

A leading Māori researcher has welcomed the announcement of the 2014 Te Pūnaha Hihiko - Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Māori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples.

On Wednesday the Ministers announced up to $5 million over two years will be invested in developing the science and innovation potential of Māori people, resources, and knowledge.

Associate Professor Leonie Pihama, Director of the University of Waikato’s Te Kotahi Research Institute, says the fund was not fully allocated in the 2013 year and “so we are glad to see that those funds have been again made available for capacity building in the Māori research sector”.

She says the investment must now be followed by a progressive approach by the Government to make a significant contribution to other areas of Māori research.

In particular, she says, it should back the calls of support for Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga, the Māori Centre of Research Excellence, and more recent advocacy by Maori researchers for a clearer allocation of funds from the National Science Challenge (NSC) funding that is currently underway.

“We have said for some time that there is a need for capability development and in order for us to see a benefit from that investment we also must see clear Māori research developments in terms of Māori research activity,” she says.

Dr Pihama, along with a range of Māori researchers, have noted the NSC process has marginalised Māori research and in order for Māori to be actively involved in the Challenges the most effective strategy would be for the Government to provide funding directly to Maori research activity.

“There has been a lot of goodwill amongst Māori researchers and where some on the Challenge panels are responding it is clear that Māori researchers are struggling to gain a space for our research themes and questions to be included,” says Dr Pihama.


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