Strengthening Māori knowledge in science and innovation

 Strengthening Māori knowledge in science and innovation

16 projects to get $3.9 million through the Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund

Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods has today announced the 16 projects that will together get $3.9 million through the 2021 round of Te Pūnaha Hihiko: Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund, further strengthening the Government’s commitment to Māori knowledge in science and innovation.

 “We received 78 proposals – the highest number of applications since the Fund began and I am excited to announce our 16 successful applicants. I want to personally congratulate them and am eager to see the impact and growth within their iwi and organisations from these projects,” says Megan Woods.

“The Fund supports the implementation of a kaupapa Māori approach to research, development and innovation, while ensuring cultural knowledge is maintained, protected and still owned by Māori or iwi.

“By supporting partnership between Māori and the research sector, we strengthen science and innovation for all New Zealanders and our ability to create a better future.”

Successful applicants will be focusing on a wide range of topics including:

·         Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research will partner with Ngāi Tahu Māori Rock Art Trust to merge mātauranga and palaeoecology to inform restoration plans and educational programmes;

·         Te Ruapekapeka Trust will partner with Victoria University of Wellington to digitally construct aspects of the Ruapekapeka heritage pā site using virtual reality technology; and

·          Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa Trust will partner with Massey University to work to create an integrated Tātau Tātau geographical information system aimed at preserving, maintaining, and disseminating mātauranga Māori material.

“These projects strengthen our understanding of how research can contribute to the aspirations of individuals, whānau, Māori communities and Māori organisations.

“Protecting and growing mātauranga is a key factor in preserving the uniqueness of Aotearoa. I am proud to be able to support the continued growth of Māori knowledge and research,” says Megan Woods.

A list of Te Pūnaha Hihiko: Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund successful applicants can be found on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.

Media contacts:     

Jo Leavesley (For Hon Woods)

M: +64 (021) 839 835

E: Jo.Leavesley@parliament.govt.nz

For contact details for any of the successful applicants, email media@mbie.govt.nz

Background:

Te Pūnaha Hihiko: Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund has been running annually since 2013 and offers successful applicants funding support for up to two years. The aims of Te Pūnaha Hihiko: Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund are to:

o   strengthen capability, capacity, skills and networks between Māori and the science and innovation system, and

o   increase understanding of how research can contribute to the aspirations of Māori organisations and deliver benefit for New Zealand.

The following five successful proposals show the range of topics funded this year.

1.         Weaving the strands: Mātauranga and palaeoecology at the Ōpihi Taniwha rock art site. Mannaaki Whenua – Landcare Research will partner with Ngāi Tahu Māori Rock Art Trust to collect ancient data that will inform restoration plans and educational programmes. The objective of the restoration is to reflect the full spectrum of cultural values, including mahika kai (resource gathering practices), thereby illuminating the lifeways of Ngāi Tahu tīpuna inhabiting these wāhi taonga. The area is a focal point for community engagement and education, with a cultural education programme raising awareness and appreciation of the natural and cultural values of these places as a basis for their protection for future generations. (Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, $250,000, 2 years).

2.         Ka Ara Tipuna – Growing intergenerational capacity to meet mahika kai aspirations. Te Runanga o Ngāi Tahu Limited will partner with the University of Canterbury, Plant and Food Research Ltd, and Keewai Ltd to reconnect people to mahika kai, the customary gathering of food and natural materials and the places where those resources are gathered. Kōura (freshwater crayfish) will be used to demonstrate how mātauraka (knowledge) Māori and the science system can work together to create and apply new knowledge which can then be applied by tākata tiaki (guardians) to recover taoka (treasured) species. This will build capability for both Kāi Tahu and the research scientists involved. (Te Runanga o Ngāi Tahu Limited, $250,000, 2 years)

3.         Matching Haapu Knowledge with Machine Learning during the Construction of the IT Artefact. Te Ruapekapeka Trust will partner with Victoria University of Wellington to digitally construct aspects of the Ruapekapeka heritage pā site using virtual reality technology. The Ruapekapeka heritage pā site is one of Aotearoa’s most significant and best preserved battle sites and is a splendid example of early Māori engineering feats. Creating a kaupapa Māori model of practice by constructing the technology of the IT artefact will lift the capability of both the trust and the researchers, and lay the foundation for an indigenous data filtering system. (Victoria University of Wellington, $250,000, 2 years)

4.         Te Kawau Tiripou: Matauranga Māori through GPS as a tool for Iwi and Hapu governance. Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa Trust will partner with Massey University to work to create an integrated Tātau Tātau geographical information system aimed at preserving, maintaining, and disseminating mātauranga Māori material. The project aims to reflect Māori understandings of time and space and to allow hapū storytelling, using multimedia sources, to be integrated with later layers of historical, environmental, social and economic data. This will allow Tātau Tātau to expand its capability in contemporary environmental, economic and social decision-making, and increase the capability of Massey researchers to embed indigenous knowledge systems into established science frameworks. (Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa Trust, $250,000, 2 years)

5.         Ko te reo kia tika, ko te reo kia rere: Machine Learning to Support te reo Māori Pronunciation. Te Hiku Media and Dragonfly Data Science will build on their SSIF-funded multilingual language platform “Papa Reo” by developing a machine learning model that detects te reo pronunciation and provides feedback to users. Proficient te reo speakers will be used to help train the model, and support for regional variations in pronunciation and improving flow and eloquence will be included. This project will build the capability of Te Hiku Media in machine learning, and Dragonfly Data Science will extend their knowledge of tikanga Māori. (Te Hiku Media, $250,000, 2 years)

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