Banana-growing project among the winners of Māori science funding

Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced funding for 34 new projects worth $3.8 million over two years through the sixth round of Te Pūnaha Hihiko: Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund.

Te Pūnaha Hihiko: Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund invests in people and organisations undertaking or planning research which supports the four themes of the Vision Mātauranga Policy: indigenous innovation; taiao achieving environmental sustainability; hauora/oranga improving health and social wellbeing; and mātauranga exploring indigenous knowledge.

“This fund has a strong focus on investing in Māori people and organisations that can create unique opportunities and innovative solutions through science research,” says Minister Woods.

“The projects funded through the Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund reflect the high calibre of diverse research aimed at creating a healthier, more sustainable and better future for all of New Zealand.”

Nanaia Mahuta says the new projects in this year’s round include sustainability in the Chatham Islands, improving biodiversity and kaitiakitanga (guardianship) in South Westland, and developing a climate change strategy for Te Arawa.

“The contribution Māori make to our research, science and innovation sectors is distinctive and essential to the growth of New Zealand,” says Minister Mahuta.

“Māori have valuable knowledge to help solve our country’s unique problems. Investment into Māori knowledge and resources, and building a better understanding of Māori values creates resilient communities.”

Up to $4 million per investment round is available through two different schemes in the fund.

A full list of successful projects is available on the MBIE website.

At the top of the list, AgResearch is being funded for three separate projects.

One of these (with $93,455 of funding) is to nurture the growth of a banana industry through “the rapid expansion of commercial Banana growing in Tārawhiti” in partnership with a company, Tai Pukenga Limited.

The Institute of Environmental Science and Research has secured $100,000 for the validation of a food safety framework for mahinga kai Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

The Rakiura Titi Islands Administering Body / Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, in partnership with Callaghan Innovation, has secured $100,000 for a project to find ways of utilising tītī by-products and add value to mahinga kai.

Source: Ministers of Science and Māori Development

Up to $4m available as part of Fifth Mātauranga Capability Fund

Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith is back on deck, making his first media announcement of the year jointly with Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell. The ministers  have opened a fifth round of the Te Pūnaha Hihiko – Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund in which up to $4 million is available for successful projects.

“We are seeking proposals that strengthen connections between Māori and the science and innovation system. This fund will continue to foster a greater understanding of how science and technology can contribute to the aspirations of Māori organisations, for the benefit of New Zealand,” says Mr Goldsmith.

“The government is investing in projects that contribute to the development of skilled people and organisations undertaking research that support the four themes of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) Vision Mātauranga policy.”

The Vision Mātauranga policy aims to unlock the science and innovation potential of Māori knowledge, resources and people.

It focuses on four themes:

  • indigenous innovation – contributing to economic growth through distinctive science and innovation
  • taiao/environment – achieving environmental sustainability through iwi and hapū relationships with land and sea
  • hauora/health – improving health and social wellbeing
  • mātauranga – exploring indigenous knowledge and science and innovation.

“We know that Māori success is New Zealand’s success and we have already seen innovative results that have wide reaching benefits from the programmes funded to date.

“Unlocking the science and innovation potential of Māori knowledge, resources and people will have major economic, social and environmental benefits for New Zealand.” Mr Flavell says.

A total of $3.97 million was invested in 33 new programmes through the fund in 2016, a substantial investment that recognises the value of Māori participation in science and innovation.

Applications must be with the Ministry of Business Innovation and Enterprise by April 5. Successful applicants will be announced in May.