Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Point of Order: Megan Woods’ challenge – she has plenty of advice from champions of matauranga Maori

The Government received 901 submissions in response to its green paper on the future of the country’s research, science and innovation system – and the role to be played by matauranga Maori. can play a rolebe merged with it.

But for now, the submissions are being kept confidential because several submitters have requested anonymity. Submissions and submitter information are being reviewed against privacy and confidentiality obligations.

The Minister in charge of this reshaping of our science system is Dr Megan Woods, whose CV includes work for Crop & Food Research and Plant & Food Research. But she was a business manager, rather than a researcher, it seems. Her PhD is in history, obtained at the University of Canterbury with a thesis titled Integrating the nation: Gendering Maori urbanisation and integration, 1942–1969.

Whatever happened to the commas?

According to a Cabinet paper Woods presented on October 28, the reform programme she favours for the country’s science sector aligns with outcomes sought by the Minister of Education on proposed changes to Performance-Based Research Fund funding.

The first two aims of those changes (as ranked in Woods’ Cabinet paper) are

* To support a holistic approach to recognising and rewarding research; and
* To better reflect and partnership between Māori and the Crown (sic).

Her paper says New Zealand’s research, science and innovation system

” … needs to make better, faster progress on supporting Māori and iwi aspirations We know that more work needs to be done to explore how the RSI system will seek to understand and respond to Te Tiriti obligations and opportunities.

“We must strengthen the role of Māori in the system and consider how we strengthen the system to achieve outcomes for Māori.

“We need to reimagine obligations and opportunities for Te Tiriti in our RSI system, better enabling Mātauranga Māori and the interface between mātauranga and other activities in our research system.”

Woods proceeded to set out how the green paper should be prepared. She said it was vitally important that

“… any proposals in this area are developed alongside Māori, and it is for this reason that I do not note any more specific ideas for reform at this stage. Instead, I propose to engage with iwi and Māori throughout this programme of work to develop such ideas.

“ I also propose to engage in confidence with Māori stakeholders during the development of the green paper, to ensure that when the green paper is released, it forms part of an appropriate and robust process to develop our thinking together.

“Similarly to the process as a whole, I do not expect the green paper to be our only avenue of engagement on this work programme, and I will seek to create ongoing and appropriate opportunities to engage with Māori throughout the process.”

So what has happened since the consultation paper was published and submissions received?

In response to a written question from National’s science spokesperson, Judith Collins, Woods said the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment received 901 submissions “as at noon 22 March 2022”. Submissions closed on March 16.

The ministry intends to publish all substantive submissions that did not ask for confidentiality on its website.

A process is being run to review all submissions to check if they have asked for confidentiality.

Submitters who requested confidentiality will be contacted by the ministry to assess whether the submission should either be released, released after identifying information is removed, or withheld in full.

Woods said:

“MBIE’s decision will be consistent with the Official Information Act 1982. Submissions will be published on MBIE’s website as soon as this process is complete and is expected by May.”

In answer to another question, Woods said she regularly meets with “stakeholders” in relation to her science portfolio.

This includes sector stakeholders from the public research system as well as independent and private research institutions (including the Independent Research Association of New Zealand – and users of research, including business and industry.

The Green Paper has been discussed at some of these meetings.

Through the consultation process her officials have also met with independent and private research organisations, and users of research (including businesses and industry) to gather their feedback.

In response to a question on costs, Woods said the ministry had spent $111,305 on external consultation expenses (as of 22 March).

This includes engagement and consultation with key Māori stakeholder groups and Te Tiriti partners including Māori businesses. It also includes event production, technical support and facilitation in order to undertake a wide-ranging and deliberative conversation about the future of New Zealand’s research system. Consultation workshops were attended by around 2,500 participants.

Consultation workshops were attended by around 2,500 participants.

Asked about the key Māori stakeholder groups and Treaty partners consulted for the Te Ara Paerangi – Future Pathways Green Paper, Woods drew attention to several Maori groups whose objectives are to promote the merger of matauranga Maori and science. They are –
* Te Tira Whakahihiko

Te Tira Whakamātaki says on its website it is an indigenous environmental not-for-profit organisation.

Our work to reverse the decline of our biodiversity, to restore balance to our natural world, and re-establish a reciprocal relationship with Papatūānuku (Mother Earth) is embedded in our ancestor’s knowledge of the environment, our indigenous philosophies, and science. This means we start by recognising indigenous peoples as the best guardians of not only their own lands but of all nature, and indigenous knowledge (in our case mātauranga Māori) as a legitimate knowledge system that is more complex than science.
* Taumata Aronui

This organisation says it was established to help ensure that the tertiary education system reflects the Government’s commitment to Māori-Crown partnerships.

Taumata Aronui was announced as part of the vocational education reform decisions in 2019. A key priority of RoVE has been to better recognise the needs of Māori communities and acknowledge that Māori are significant employers with social and economic goals. To help achieve this priority, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced the creation of Taumata Aronui to provide Māori community and employer perspectives on tertiary education, including vocational education.

The group works with and provides independent recommendations and advice to Ministers and officials on how tertiary education can respond better to the needs of Māori learners and communities. The focus of Taumata Aronui is to help design an education system that reflects the Government’s commitment to Māori Crown partnerships.

Before its establishment, in August 2019, Hipkins sought nominations in a quest for people with a mix of skills, knowledge of and experience in working collaboratively with, and providing a perspective (among other things) of mātauranga Māori.

* Te Kāhui Amokura

Te Kāhui Amokura was officially formed in 2004 and comprises the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori, Assistant Vice-Chancellor Māori or Pro-Vice Chancellor Māori from each university.

It says its role is to advance and promote the collective interests of New Zealand’s universities to improve outcomes for Māori university students, Māori university staff and Māori scholarship.

Te Kei is the first Māori Academic Development Programme to be implemented across the eight New Zealand universities. Guided by Mātauranga Māori, the programme has been designed by Maori academics to support the professional and personal development new and emerging Māori academics. For more details about this programme –
* Te Ara Pūtaiao

Te Ara Pūtaiao, the Crown Research Institute Māori Leadership Group, was established in the 1990’s by Māori staff from across the seven Crown Research Institutes. Its membership consists of tier two Māori managers from each CRI.

Originally established as a support network for Māori staff and researchers who were dealing with similar issues across the CRI’s, its role, focus and membership has evolved from a community of Māori practice within the CRIs

“… to providing independent strategic advice to other governmental departments regarding the alignment and provision of science to Māori.”

Te Ara Pūtaiao has become aligned with Science NZ and has moved towards building relationships with both governmental agencies and industry to enhance and elevate impacts from the country’s science system to benefit Māori.

It says it applauds the Ministry for Business, Investment and Employment’s proposal to extend Vision Mātauranga to develop new initiatives and policies that work effectively within and around Te Ao Māori.

We also support the co-design approach to all activities in the area of Vision Mātauranga and recommend that this extends to a co-decision making approach to decide the form of the final model.

Te Ara Pūtaiao operate within the context that Te Tiriti o Waitangi is the basis of the Crown Māori relationship. Te Tiriti based partnership is therefore the most appropriate form of Crown relationship with Māori in the science and research sector and RSI system influencing the Crown approach to Te Ao Māori, Mātauranga Māori, Māori knowledge systems and the implementation of the Vision Mātauranga policy and associated themes.
* Rauika Māngai

Rauika Māngai (a term that means, an ‘assembly of representatives’) comprises representatives of the 11 national science challenges and Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (Māori Centre of Research Excellence ). They are described as

“… Māori scientists, research leaders and programme managers at the national forefront of Vision Mātauranga implementation.”

Its purpose includes sharing and extending best practice approaches to Vision Mātauranga and its objectives are to

(1) Innovate and advance Mātauranga Māori

(2) Accelerate research, science and innovation for the benefit of Aotearoa New Zealand

(3) Influence science policy to deliver wide-ranging benefits to whānau, hapū, iwi, and diverse Māori communities.

It has made these recommendations to government and research organisations “for a thriving science system” –

* Employ an engaged Treaty relationship in the science sector
* Undertake a mapping of Vision Mātauranga activities and their impacts
* Establish minimum cultural competencies for researchers working with Māori
* Establish minimum standards for assessing Vision Mātauranga
* A minimum standard for Vision Mātauranga assessors to be Māori
* Embrace measures of science excellence that include Mātauranga Māori
* Mātauranga Māori should be under the authority of Māori
* Establish an expert council for a Mātauranga Māori/science sector review
* Convene an independent Mātauranga Māori commission to formulate and oversee a national Mātauranga Māori agenda
* Create dedicated Mātauranga Māori or Māori science initiatives, e.g. Mātauranga NSC or SSIF
* Pro-active Māori workforce development in the science sector

Woods said she also has consulted representatives of Māori Early Career Researchers and “Rangatahi representatives”.

Furthermore, she said “some” of the 901 submissions will be from Māori stakeholder groups and Te Tiriti partners.

Point of Order is a blog focused on politics and the economy run by veteran newspaper reporters Bob Edlin and Ian Templeton.


Kiwialan said...

I am 100% sure that various species of Moa and other extinct native birds would have a different opinion of Maori guardianship, as would Mother Earth regarding millions of acres of forest burnt to easily hunt the said birds. Kiwialan.

Anonymous said...

if something doesn't make sense, just 'follow the money' and it will :)

perhaps the best option is for taxpayers to revolt about their money being spent on so-called research projects. if research (indigenous, western, eastern or imaginary) has the ability to add commercial value, let it get funded by industry, else by charity. i'm sure the system will quickly revert to the desired equilibrium.