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Support for Māori research and innovation

Media Release August 27 2008

Support for Māori research and innovation

Five researchers working on projects with the potential to boost New Zealand’s bank of scientific knowledge and enhance Māori involvement in new areas of study have been awarded Te Tipu Pūtaiao Fellowships from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.

The successful fellows are: Amelia Geary (Victoria University of Wellington), Darnell Kennedy (University of Otago), Anne-Marie Jackson (University of Otago), Stephanie Rotarangi (University of Otago) and Dr Hayley Lawrence (Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research).

Their fellowships range in value from $31,800 to $264,000 and are for periods of between two and three years.

Te Tipu Pūtaiao fellowships are designed to unlock the innovation potential of Māori knowledge, people and resources for the benefit of New Zealand, with the Foundation offering them to Masters, PhD and Postdoctoral students and to Bridge to Employment recipients.

“The focus of the Te Tipu Pūtaiao fellowship scheme is to foster the development of New Zealand’s emerging scientists and build a stronger research community. Māori have a positive contribution to make to the research, science and technology sector,” says the Foundation’s strategy manager for Māori research and innovation, Pereri Hathaway.

“This scheme is one way of supporting young researchers and encouraging Maori students into science careers,” he says.

“We need to acknowledge and utilise the distinct and unique knowledge and contribution that Māori have to offer to the science and research community, and the scheme encourages our fellows to work collaboratively with Māori on research projects, resulting in good research outcomes for New Zealand,” says Mr Hathaway.

One of this year’s Te Tipu Pūtaiao Fellowships goes to Dr Hayley Lawrence who won a commendation in the 2006 MacDiarmid Young Scientists of the Year Awards presented by the Foundation to recognise research excellence while also promoting the importance of good science communication.

The recipients and their projects are:

• Amelia Geary, Masters student, Victoria University of Wellington to study titi (muttonbird or sooty shearwaters) of the Marlborough Sounds (Motungārara Island) with the goal of developing new and distinctive approaches to environmental and resource protection that integrate both Western scientific and Māori traditional knowledge for long term sustainable management of muttonbird populations and the fragile island ecosystem. Amelia receives $33,000 for a two year project.

• Darnell Kennedy, Masters student, University of Otago (Ngati Māniapoto, Ngāti Maru) to develop and evaluate a method that compares DNA profiles of the streptococcus bacteria found on teeth and in bite marks on human skin which can be used to build an effective forensic tool to trace perpetrators of violent crimes while simultaneously profiling the streptococcal found in mouths of Māori and non-Māori. Darnel Kennedy receives $31,800 for two years.

• Anne-Marie Jackson, PhD student, University of Otago (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whatua) to identify constraints and enablers for establishing taiāpure (coastal patch where the government acknowledges that Māori, as tangata whenua, is entitled to have rangatiratanga over their fisheries), and whether the taiāpure process promotes Māori health and wellbeing. Anne-Marie receives $107,500 for her three year research.

• Stephanie Rotarangi, PhD student, University of Otago, to develop understandings of the motivations that lead Māori to make decisions regarding forest management and to understand the impact on national sustainability of current forest use changes with forest management policies important to Māori. Stephanie receives $107,500 for three years.

• Dr Hayley Lawrence, Postdoctoral researcher, Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research New Zealand, to research the endangered oi (grey-faced petrel seabird), investigating populations on the Ruamaahua (Alderman) Islands off Coromandel, conservation strategies and assisting Māori to strengthen their kaitiaki role for controlling and managing ecologically sustainable harvest policies. Hayley receives $264,000 for three years.
The fellowship scheme is open to all New Zealanders, providing funding support for students wanting to undertake Masters, PhD and postdoctoral research, as well as supporting employment opportunities for new and emerging scientists through the Bridge to Employment scheme. The recipients receive an annual stipend, tuition fees, research related costs and other expenses.

To find out more about Te Tipu Pūtaiao Fellowships visit:


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