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Massey Magazine Issue 13 November 2002

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Professor Bob Jahnke presents his conceptualisation of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Academy launch.
Professor Bob Jahnke presents his conceptualisation of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Academy launch.

Academy of Mäori research launched

Coinciding with the dawn of Matariki, the Mäori New Year, the launch of New Zealand’s first academy of Mäori research and scholarship signifies a major advance-ment of Mäori academic prowess.

The Academy, Te Mata o te Tau, was launched on 11 June by Professor Tai Black who recited a karakia in keeping with Matariki festivities. He explained the significance of Te Mata o te Tau for both the University and Te Pütahi a Toi, the School of Mäori Studies, as “the first sign for the Mäori New Year and a symbol of high attainment”.

The Academy will bring together the University’s senior Mäori scholars and provide a forum for interdisciplinary research and academic debate. Assistant Vice-Chancellor – Mäori, Professor Mason Durie, emphasised the importance of consolidating Mäori scholarship, describing the Academy as a vehicle for fostering new knowledge, high levels of academic achievement and a platform for research that draws on different bodies of knowledge. The Academy’s innovative approach to research would bring a new dynamic to the greater realm of Mäori academia, he said.

In her presentation at the launch, Vice-Chancellor Professor Judith Kinnear described the Academy as an important milestone, set to make a major contribution to Mäori and to Mäori scholarship.

“ It recognises that although Mäori academics come from different subject areas, and different sections of the University, their combined efforts have great potential for developing new approaches to further Mäori aspirations.”

Supported by a board of Academy fellows and senior research staff, Te Mata o te Tau will forge the path for interdisciplinary research collaboration. The University’s strength of Mäori academia includes:

— Te Ropu Whariki, a Mäori research group working in partnership with Massey’s SHORE Centre in Auckland, led by Helen Moewaka Barnes

— Te Pumanawa Hauora at the Wellington campus (a research programme in Mäori health), directed by Associate Professor Chris Cunningham

— Te Aho Tatai-Rangi - a three-year degree for future Kura Kaupapa Mäori educators, designed for competent speakers of Te Reo Mäori and situated in Palmerston North

— The Centre for Public Health research (represented at all three campuses) which operates in collaboration with Te Pumanawa Hauora

— The School of Mäori Studies’ Bachelor course in Mäori Visual Arts and the Diploma in Mäori Resource Development.

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