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Study funding for winning researcher

Media Release August 27 2008

Study funding for winning researcher

A molecular ecology researcher who two years ago won national recognition for her ability to communicate her science successfully has been awarded a Te Tipu Pūtaiao Fellowship from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.

Dr Hayley Lawrence is now a post-doctoral researcher in Auckland with Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research New Zealand and has been awarded $264,000 for three years for research into oi (grey-faced petrel seabird known as tītī to Hauraki iwi, kuia-oi-tītī to Ngāti Awa) on the Ruamaahua (Aldermen) Islands off Coromandel.

Hayley has a BSc (Hons) from Victoria University of Wellington and a PhD from Massey University (Albany).

In 2006, she won a commendation in the MacDiarmid Young Scientists of the Year Awards, which are held annually by the Foundation to recognise excellent research, science and technology while also promoting the importance of good science communication. Her award was for research into one of the world’s most endangered seabirds, the Chatham Island tāiko. She is completing a booklet explaining the tāiko research. It will be distributed to Chatham Island households and also be printed in Te Reo Māori and Te Re Moriori.

The Te Tipu Pūtaiao Fellowship supports Hayley’s investigations into populations of oi on the Ruamaahua Islands, conservation strategies and assisting Māori to strengthen their kaitiaki role for controlling and managing ecologically sustainable harvest policies.

The distinct aspect of Hayley’s research is the use of genetics to discover new information about the oi that has been previously unable to be collected through other scientific methods.

New Zealand is one of the seabird capitals of the world and Māori consider many of the birds to be taonga species. Hauraki iwi initiated the Mauriora ki ngā Oi research programme to evaluate the status of oi on the Ruamaahua Islands. With support of Hauraki iwi, Manaaki Whenua sought to collaborate with Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and Te Tapatorua a Toi to investigate the state of the oi population on Moutohora (Whale Island) after the removal of Norway rats in 1987.

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.

To find out more about Te Tipu Pūtaiao Fellowships visit:


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