The Listener letter: 70 fellows express concerns at Royal Society’s handling of complaints

Seventy academics have sent a motion of no-confidence to the Royal Society of New Zealand over its handling of the letter signed by seven University of Auckland professors and published in the Listener last July.

In the letter – headed “In defence of science” – the professors said they regarded indigenous knowledge as valuable, both “for the preservation and perpetuation of culture and local practices” and in “key roles in management and policy”.  But they contended that mātauranga Māori is “not science” and therefore should not be included in the NCEA science syllabus.   

Three of the professors, Robert Nola, Garth Cooper and Michael Corballis (who has since died), were Fellows of the Royal Society of New Zealand.  After complaints were laid about the letter, disciplinary action was instigated against them but last month the Initial Investigation Panel concluded that the complaints should not proceed to a Complaints Determination Committee. 

Professors Nola and Cooper have subsequently resigned both as members and fellows of the society, and the letter published here has been sent to the society’s chief executive…   

To Paul Atkins (CEO RSNZ)

The Fellows, listed below as co-signatories, wish to express their deep concern about what has been happening within the Royal Society of New Zealand over the last year, by moving and seconding the motions below for discussion at the at the 56th hui ā-tau o Ngā Ahurei Annual Fellowship on 28th April. Continue reading