Government limits opportunity for Māori development

Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement:

Headline: Government limits opportunity for Māori development

The Government’s recent decision to cease funding for the only Māori Centre of Research Excellence – Ngā Pae o te Maramatanga – is a slap in the face for Māori research knowledge, said Labour’s Associate Research, Science and Innovation spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta.

“It’s clear the Māori Party have supported a funding decision which knee caps an institution that has grown the number of PhD graduates and research topics.

“Māori Innovation is key to enhancing and leveraging economic and social advancement.

“The Government cannot on the one hand talk about the huge contribution that Māori make to our country without supporting Maori knowledge and research capacity.

“This decision smacks of the short-sighted and narrow view of this Government led by Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce, which seeks to dismiss the value of Māori knowledge.

“A Labour government would support a centre of excellence for high quality Māori research to leverage the huge Māori economic base and to contribute to improved wellbeing outcomes.

“Labour is committed to growing New Zealand’s full potential as a nation and recognition of Māori knowledge is an important part of that goal,” Nanaia Mahuta says.

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  1. The Royal Society of New Zealand Act only mentions the Treaty of Waitangi in passing. Given that the decisions as to funding the Centres of Research Excellence come under the Royal Society, any provision for the advancement of Maori in science is left to individual referees and panels. Unless these individuals have some strong feelings and motivations to act for the advancement of the Tangata Whenua, there is nothing compelling them to do so.

    I know a member of one of the panels who has repeatedly expressed the view that Maori seats and any form of indigenous quota or affirmative action are a variant of apartheid, are racist, and have no place in modern New Zealand. I do not think such a person should be making these decisions.

    In view of the problems arising from this funding round, my view is that the Royal Society Act should be amended so that there is a legal requirement to consider Te Tiriti. I call on Labour, Greens, and Mana to commit to this in the first term of a new government.

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