1 Oct 2014

Trust and science institute join forces

7:34 pm on 1 October 2014

A Whanganui charitable trust has signed a partnership with a top New Zealand research institute which it hopes will produce more Maori scientists.

Nga Hononga Marae Trust has signed a memorandum of understanding with The MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology.

The manager of the trust said the two organisations will undertake community-based science programmes to develop learning opportunities for young Maori.

Nihi Houia, of Ngati Porou, said the Institute and the Trust will also identify opportunities for innovation in Maori businesses in the Whanganui region.

Mr Houia said the trust is very excited by the partnership which would give the institute a context to apply their theories and for the trust to benefit from their outcomes.

There are not many Māori scientists, he said, and the agreement will lead to more young Māori working alongside The MacDiarmid Institute scientists and learning from their expertise.

"We want to use our younger generations to become the scientists, researchers and innovators. Our people use the analogy of the master craftsman working alongside the apprentices and it's a similar model we want to adopt here. Yes there will be specialists that come here and carry out the projects, but we will have our young people alongside them as well.

"The blend of Māori people and their cultural world view and the scientists and their lens which will expose them to a science that's delivered in a Westminister-style means that ultimately we will have even better scientists in the future."