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Otago students win research fellowship funding

Media Release August 27 2008
Otago students win research fellowship funding

Three University of Otago students have won Te Tipu Pūtaiao Fellowships from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology for research which has potential to generate significant new knowledge likely to benefit New Zealand.

The research being carried out by Stephanie Rotarangi, Darnell Kennedy and Anne-Marie Jackson will contribute to New Zealand’s bank of scientific knowledge and enhance Māori involvement in new areas of study.

PhD student Stephanie Rotarangi aims to study the motivations that lead Maori to make decisions regarding forest management and to understand the impact on national sustainability of current land use and forest management policies important to Maori.

She receives $107,500 for three years.

“This project is required because the majority of research to date has focused on the economic drivers and biophysical constraints when predicting or analysing land use change in New Zealand. The key elements of this research will understand the impact on national sustainability of current forest use changes, identifying the drivers of this change and establishing the forest management scenarios most important to Māori,” says Stephanie.

Anne-Marie Jackson, (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whatua), is a PhD student whose research aims to identify constraints and enablers for establishing taiapure (coastal areas where the government acknowledges that Māori, as tangata whenua, is entitled to have rangatiratanga over their fisheries). An integral part of her work will also establish whether the taiāpure process promotes Māori health and wellbeing. The Foundation fellowship awards her $107,500 for her three year research project.

Anne-Marie has a Master of Physical Education from Otago and hopes her research will make a decisive difference in Māori health.

“It will aid in the establishment of successful taiāpure within New Zealand, which will mean an increase in the control and management of fisheries. That increase will, in turn, lead to an increase in tino rangatiratanga, which will have a flow-on effect of improving identity and improved health and wellbeing,” she says.

Darnell Kennedy, (Ngati Māniapoto, Ngāti Maru), is a Masters student at the University of Otago and receives $31,800 for two years to develop and evaluate a method that compares DNA profiles of the streptococcus bacteria found on teeth and in bite marks on human skin.
Her aim is to use the research 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.

The research will investigate the effects of different streptococcus bacteria on Māori oral health, using state of the art molecular biology.

“My work will eventually contribute to combating periodontal diseases among Māori and will also meet a national need to develop better and more objective forensic techniques to help combat family violence and abuse among Māori and Pakeha,” says Darnell.

The fellowships are designed to unlock the innovation potential of Maori knowledge, resources and people for the benefit of New Zealand. The Foundation offers them to Masters, PhD and Postdoctoral students and 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.

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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