National | Dr Ayesha Verrall

Government invests $6.5m into Māori science and technology workforce

The government is investing $6.5m dollars to get and retain more Māori in the science, technology and research sectors, through a new programme designed to network and mentor indigenous academics.

“Māori researchers at the beginning of their careers in research institutes are often under pressure to work two roles – their research role and additionally, a frequently unpaid role to provide cultural leadership.” Research, Science and Innovation Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall said today.

“With few Māori research mentors to guide them through these unique and added pressures, Māori researchers can experience burn-out and leave the research workforce.”

The funding will go to Kanapu, a programme designed and delivered by New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence, Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga at the University of Auckland.

Iwi and hapū with generations of mātauranga knowledge would also be integral, in addition to connecting Māori researchers across research institutions for mentoring.

Mātauranga experts are in high demand within fields such as climate change. Verrall said the funding would facilitate forums such as wānanga, to ensure the exchange of ideas can be done in an open, culturally relevant way.

“Kanapu (lightning or instantaneous glow) is a further way the government is strengthening the benefits that Māori knowledge, culture, values and worldview bring to the research system.” Dr Verrall said.

“Growing a research workforce where the perspectives and expertise of Māori are well represented is a key part of ensuring we have a thriving and talented workforce to meet the opportunities and challenges of today and the future."

Verrall said Kanapu would help Māori researchers with varying degrees of experience.

“[It] will enhance the employment outcomes of Māori in the research workforce, and benefit the whole research workforce.”

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