1. Māori PhDs haerenga to Tauranga for doctoral conference
  2. A snapshot on some of our MAI doctoral students
  3. What is Te Kupenga o MAI?
  4. Te Pūtahitanga report free to download
  5. Te Pūtahitanga webinar
Māori PhDs haerenga to Tauranga for Doctoral Conference
This issue is dedicated to our Māori Postgraduates and the Te Kupenga o MAI (MAI) network.
After the many disruptions of 2020, we finally came together, kanohi ki te kanohi, in late April for our much loved annual MAI Doctoral Conference. 

Hosted superbly by MAI ki Waikato at the beautiful University of Waikato Tauranga campus, it was a special and empowering gathering.
Over 70 Māori doctoral candidates from MAI networks around the country travelled to share their research including:
  • MAI ki Aronui
  • MAI ki Tāmaki
  • MAI ki Waikato
  • MAI ki Massey
  • MAI ki Pōneke
  • MAI ki Otago
  • MAI ki Canterbury
Satisfied smiles of relief from our MAI postgraduates after their presentations
Photos |  Josie McClutchie, Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga
This year’s conference theme "Te Manawaroa o Te Kupenga" was a reference and reflection of the resilience of the Te Kupenga o MAI network and its annual MAI Doctoral Conference in a COVID environment.

A kupenga (net) has three qualities:

1. Durabilityensures strength to withstand wear, pressure, or damage
2. Flexibilityassures ease to modify in response to an altered condition
3. Mendability ensures means to fix and restore to a good and workable state
Our kupenga has definitely been tested in planning for this gathering, but the strength of our qualities shone through.

After a year-long wait, NPM's Emerging Researchers’ Leader, Dr Hinekura Smith (Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi, Te Āti Awa) with the amazing support of MAI ki Waikato, the team from Te Ahurutanga (University of Waikato Māori Student Leadership Programme), the caterers and MC extraordinaire Toiroa Williams (Te Whakatōhea, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui) went all out to provide an energetic and uplifting Tainui, Waikato, Tauranga Moana infused event.
Dr Hinekura Smith steered the conference with her gentle style and grace while Toiroa Williams kept the proceedings on task with his charismatic vibe and flare.
Te Āhurutanga provided amazing conference support and entertainment throughout the 3-day event.
Photos |  Josie McClutchie, Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga
Every year NPM organises a conference that is hosted by one of the MAI networks.

It is an opportunity for emerging Māori scholars to present their PhD research thus far in a supportive Māori forum, from a wide range of research fields and talk with established academics and researchers.

"MAI conferences are a vital aspect of all we do around Aotearoa, supporting students to achieve their dreams and aspirations and those of their respective whānau and communities.

We are indeed engaged in the work of growing the future and in ensuring that it is one of hope, joy and promise."
— Professor Linda Waimarie Nikora,
Co-director, Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga
MAI postgraduates at Mauao during the Ngāi Tamarawaho Cultural Trail, Tauranga Moana.
Photo | Petera Hudson
A snapshot on some of our MAI doctoral students
We spoke to some of the MAI postgraduates at the conference about their PhD journey.
Marnie Reinfelds | Waipapa Taumatarau | University of Auckland | MAI ki Tāmaki
PhD Title: Ka ora–enhancing the healing potential of birth for wāhine Māori and whānau
Technically I am in my third year of the PhD journey, but I am still doing second-year stuff because of COVID!

The aim of my PhD is to explore if birth can be healing for wāhine Māori and their whānau. In doing this I am seeking to understand what Indigenous/Māori birth looks like for whanau and what constitutes positive birth for wahine Māori and their whānau.

I am also interested in the intersection of birth trauma and historical trauma and the impacts this has on whānau.

I want to understand how trauma can be prevented in the birthing space and how can we mitigate around and minimise its impact on whanau. I seek these understandings for transformation in the health sector and so that we can create birthing spaces that can heal us intergenerationally. There are a range of factors that negatively impact on the birth outcomes for Māori, and it is my hope that my mahi will impact on these at a systemic level.

The MAI network has been a valuable part of my PhD journey.
While I am doing my mahi through the University of Auckland, I am physically based in Taranaki.

As a distance student the MAI network has assisted in me connecting me with other students, across multiple disciplines. I have taken opportunities to participate in writing retreats. Being able to remove myself for a few days from my whanau responsibilities and having the space (both thinking and physical) to dedicate to the mahi has been important.

The network has assisted me in getting through some major milestones in the PhD journey. The moral and practical support from other students has also been amazing. I have participated in HONO MAI and recently attended my first MAI conference in Tauranga.

It is hard to describe these forums because they have impact on many levels. Being able to connect with other PhD students, hear their stories, learn about the all the spaces our people are doing their rangahau, share your own journey… are just some of the ways the network has been of value.
Ryan Meachen | Te Herenga Waka | Victoria University of Wellington | MAI ki Pōneke
PhD Title: Towards an Integrated Theory of Self-Actualization: Bridging Mātauranga Māori & Western Knowledge
I’m two months into my doctorate, part-time. A long journey up a big maunga ahead!
I’m an Organisational Behaviour PhD student at Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington. My ambition is to develop a new theory of self-actualisation grounded in Mātauranga Māori. Bridging Maslow with Te Ao Māori. It’s about becoming all you can uniquely and possibly be. Experiencing the whole of your individual humanity. Standing in your own mana.

I’m taking a bit of a ‘research is me-search’ approach. The question I’m trying to answer is ‘how do I become myself?’ – where do I situate myself in the world, and how do I navigate what I can be?
Long-term I hope my learnings can help rangatahi become all they can possible be and envision. For themselves. For their tupuna. And for the generations to come.

There’s plenty of reasons to recommend the MAI conference. The people you meet. The stories you hear.

The MAI network is a glimpse in to the future of Māori Scholarship.

But the reason that really resonates deeply in my puku . . . . the kai! Felt like a Christmas feed every day!

Deborah Heke | Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makau Rau | Auckland University of Technology | MAI ki Aronui
PhD Title: Atua Wahine - Mana Wahine. Tracing the whakapapa of physical activity among Māori women in contemporary Aotearoa
I’m in my 3rd year and will submit by the end of the year.

The aim of my PhD is creating a space for wāhine voices that can inspire positive change and enhanced mana.

The MAI network (through the revival and thriving of MAI ki Aronui) has been one of the most important aspects of my doctoral journey.

The support and camaraderie that I've had through the network of Indigenous doctoral students and events has been amazing.
MAI ki Aronui in particular have been a wider whānau that I've developed important relationships with and that wouldn't be possible without MAI.

It's a space where it is 'normal' to find yourself in a room full of Māori and Indigenous scholars specialising in areas ranging from advanced medical technology, to aerial firefighting, to graphic design, leadership, language revitalisation and beyond.

Petera Hudson | Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato | Waikato University | MAI ki Waikato
PhD Research Question: How can technologies that use AI techniques provide for cultural well-being for whānau and their futures?
I have just begun my PhD as a distance student based in Whanganui. I was confirmed 31 March 2021.

One of the aims of my research is to find ways that technologies that use AI techniques can connect my whānau that live away from our tribal homelands of te Whakatōhea with those that live on our turangawaewae.

Whakawhanaungatanga for me as a distant student is really important.
The MAI programme provides an environment for Māori scholars to meet and engage - whakawhanaungatanga.

Catching up with other Māori PhD candidates via zoom or kanohi ki te kanohi provides the connection I enjoy.

MAI is an essential element of my research support whānau where you’ll meet like minds researching things with Māori, by Māori and for Māori.

Moana Rarere | Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato | Waikato University | MAI ki Waikato
PhD Title: Understanding Māori demographic birth trends
I’m in my 5th year, part-time.

The aim of my research is to disrupt Western interpretations of Maaori fertility by incorporating mana wahine cultural perspectives about the timing of births and family size. So that waahine Maaori voices are recognised as experts about their own fertility.

MAI has been invaluable to my PhD journey.  It has helped me to continually reflect on my practices as a Maaori researcher. 

It also fosters a space that validates and reminds me that "I'm ok and that I can do this research!"  
Every time I reconnect with the network, I am constantly reminded to "listen to the wairua....and trust it" as I continue along the PhD and academic journey.

MAI is a great opportunity to connect and strengthen relationships with other postgraduate and doctoral peers in a safe Māori and Indigenous centred space...a space that nurtures you to be Māori and Indigenous and that reminds you of who you are. 

The doctoral conferences, writing retreats and other wānanga and hui also opens opportunities to share and test your whakaaro —in terms of research, methodology, approach, frameworks— and to also learn from others.  
Photography: Josie McClutchie | Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga
What is Te Kupenga o MAI?
The Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Māori and Indigenous (MAI) programme is for the enhancement of Māori postgraduate students throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.
The programme’s origins go back to the 1990s when Professors Graham and Linda Smith began regular mentoring sessions for Māori postgraduate students at The University of Auckland.
While similar initiatives were under development in other parts of the country, it was the establishment of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga as a Centre of Research Excellence in 2002 and the guidance of Professor Linda Smith that has facilitated the development of Te Kupenga o MAI, (MAI) the national network.
Photos: Josie McClutchie | Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga
Te Pūtahitanga report available for download
The widely acclaimed report ‘Te Pūtahitanga, A Tiriti-led science-policy approach for Aotearoa New Zealand’ is now available for free download online:  DOWNLOAD REPORT
The paper examines the interface between science and policymaking and calls for a policy approach that is enabled by, and responsive to, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Mātauranga Māori.

For a science sector to have its greatest reach and impact for all citizens, it must demonstrate relevance, accessibility and inclusion. In Aotearoa, there has been concern about the exclusion of Māori and Pacific expertise from science advice and key decision-making roles.

Te Tiriti offers a powerful framework for connecting systems and communities of knowledge in ways that are mutually beneficial and future focused.

Authors: Tahu Kukutai, Tracey McIntosh, Amohia Boulton, Meihana Durie, Meika Foster, Jessica Hutchings, Melanie Mark-Shadbolt, Helen Moewaka Barnes,           Te Taiawatea Moko-Mead, Sarah-Jane Paine, Suzanne Pitama, and Jacinta Ruru.
Reviews and Interviews
28-April 2021 |
Stuff interview with Tahu Kukutai
28-April 2021 | Morning Report with Tahu Kukutai
28-April 2021 | Newshub with Tahu Kukutai
28-April 2021 | Waatea News with Tahu Kukutai
28-April 2021 | The Spinoff with Jacinta Ruru & Tahu Kukutai
03-May 2021 | Research Professional, Article

Te Pūtahitanga Webinar

On the day of the release of ‘Te Pūtahitanga, A Tiriti-led science-policy approach for Aotearoa New Zealand’, NPM hosted webinar with some of the authors.

Five of the report's authors, Professor Tahu Kukutai, Professor Tracey McIntosh, Dr Jessica Hutchings, Dr Amohia Boulton, and Melanie Mark-Shadbolt explained why this kaupapa is so important for Aotearoa.

The webinar is now available on our Media Centre and can be viewed here: Te Putahitanga Webinar
Noho ora mai rā,

Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga | New Zealand's Māori Centre of Research Excellence
Waipapa Marae Complex | Private Bag 92019 | Auckland | New Zealand
Tel: +64 9 923 4220

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