Māori need seats at the aerospace industry growth table

As consultation wraps up this month on New Zealand's space policy and the New Zealand Aerospace Strategy, a leading Māori astrophysicist, says more time is needed for Māori to be fully involved.

Dr Pauline Harris (Rongomai wahine, Ngāti rakaipāka, Ngāti kahungunu ki Wairoa) is the deputy director Māori, for advanced materials and nano-technology at the MacDiarmid Institute.

Harris is also the leader for the Vision Matauranga-themed technological innovation national science challenge.

She joined teaomā to talk about the most important principles to be considered from a te ao Māori perspective in relation to policy and strategy.

But Harris said there hadn’t been enough time for Māori to consider and understand issues with space, the potential of space and what should be allowed to be sent into space.

“We definitely need more time to digest the information because it’s really complicated.”

Harris believes Te Tiriti o Waitangi is fundamental in terms of te ao Māori principles for interaction with space.

“We need to be at the decision-making table but through the whole process, not just in consultation; we need to be there helping develop the policies in terms of some of the things that need to be done.”

Harris says these are built around ideas of projects being resourced correctly, correctly investing in the space industry and creating education pathways for Māori.

“What we need to get a grasp on is where Māori are at, what sorts of investments  we want to make and how we want to be involved.”