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The Value and Future of Māori Research

Outcome of National Workshop - the Value and Future of Māori Research

On Thursday 20th March 2014 Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (NPM) hosted a national workshop at Waipapa Marae, the University of Auckland to discuss the value and future of Māori Research in New Zealand. This followed on from the shock decision to terminate Government funding for New Zealand’s only Māori Centre of Research Excellence.

Over 200 people gathered including senior community leaders, community representatives, senior researchers and academics, and politicians to discuss the value and consider the future of Māori research. Māori research in this context refers to research concerning needs and opportunites facing Māori communities and where those communities have high involvement. It particularly concerns the use of methodologies and approaches which enables this involvement and at times make use of mātauranga Māori.

Speakers included Board Chair, Sir Tipene O’Regan, Professor Sir Mason Durie, Dame Iritana Tāwhiwhirangi, Associate Professor Leonie Pihama, and Professor Charles Royal who all spoke of the need for Māori research and its benefits to Māori communities. Dr Marama Muru Lanning, Tiopira McDowell and Natalie Coates spoke of their experiences as students who were supported by Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga. In the case of Ms Coates, she completed a Master in Laws at the Harvard University Law school supported by a Fulbright NZ award funded by Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga.

The meeting was also attended by representatives of the Māori Party and Mana Party leader, Hone Harawira.

A key outcome of the meeting was support for a National Māori Research Institute proposed by Sir Mason Durie. He argued that Māori development over the next decades will be significantly different to previous decades and that it will require a dedicated, well managed research effort. Māori development will not achieve goals quickly without research.

Assoc Prof Leonie Pihama asserted a no compromise approach where the decision not to fund Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga will be challenged. Proposals included the possibility of a judicial review and claim before the Waitangi Tribunal. An outcry is already underway where many individuals and groups from throughout New Zealand and the world have expressed their dismay and protested this decision.

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.


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