1. Co-Directors Update
  2. Kaupapa o te Marama: September Māori Language Challenge
  3. Research: ‘Puni reo: Normalising Māori Language in new domains’
  4. MAI Journal Call for Papers
  5. Webinar: 'He huringa āhuarangi, he huringa ao'
  6. News & Announcements

Te Pūrongo o Ngā Pou Matarua | Co-Directors Update

Kua tau mai Te Ahunga o Uruao
Mahuta mai e Te Kakau, kua kitea Whakaahu Kerekere
Nau mai e te pūmahana e pūāhuru nei
Kua puāwai ngā rākau katoa
Kua pā te kakara ki te ihu o te tangata
E te pīpīwharauroa tohu o te matiti kura, tēnā koe
Kua puta anō koe ki runga, tioro ai
Tioro i te whitu, tioro i te waru
Tioro i te taiao e torokiki nei
Kui kui kui, whiti whiti ora

The month of September - known to many as Mahuru - is a time of regrowth, rebirth and renewal, marking the first phase of summer in the maramataka (Māori Lunar Calendar), and the beginning of spring in the Gregorian calendar. There are many tohu, or signs, associated with Mahuru (September) in Aotearoa - from the flowing of inanga (whitebait) and the tangi of the pīpīwharauroa (call of the Shining cuckoo), to the appearance of spring lambs and garden blooms. 

Mahuru is the month in which all in Aotearoa are invited to celebrate our country’s unique Indigenous language, te reo Māori (Māori language). Established in 2014, ‘Mahuru Māori’ (September Māori Language Challenge) is about normalising te reo and providing inclusive, accessible opportunities for everyone to participate - all while dancing to the 70s beats of Earth, Wind & Fire. Over the years NPM researchers have made important contributions to the revitalisation of te reo - you can read more about their efforts and impact below.

Throughout Mahuru, our Tāmaki-based (Auckland) NPM secretariat carried on working from their mirumiru (lockdown bubbles) with the change to level three. Researchers and partners across the NPM network continue to lead and support efforts to reduce inequities in vaccination rates for Māori, and keep whānau (families) safe.

We also acknowledge the ongoing efforts of Indigenous nations, communities, and researchers in other whenua (lands) who seek social justice for their peoples as they deal with the inequitable consequences of the pandemic.

BBC: Fury as Covid crisis hits Australia's Aboriginal communities

CBC: Manitoba spends $2.8M to boost vaccination rates among urban Indigenous population
Mahuru has also surfaced important successes for NPM researchers in the recent Endeavour funding round.

NPM Board member Dr Jane Kitson (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Mamoe, Waitaha) and Dr Joanna Clapcott (Ngāti Porou) are the science leaders of ‘Fish futures: preparing for novel freshwater ecosystems'. Fish futures draws on mātauranga mō te wai (Māori knowledge systems on freshwater science) to help transform the way we care for both native and introduced freshwater fish in Aotearoa.

NPM researchers Dr Phil Lyver (Ngāti Toarangatira ki Wairau) and Dr Shaun Awatere (Ngāti Porou) are key members of research teams that were also successful applicants. Dr Phil for 'Te Weu o te Kaitiaki - Indigenous regeneration pathways' and Dr Shaun for ‘Restoring Urban Nature’. Research, Science and Innovation Minister Hon Dr Minister Woods highlighted the importance of these projects for demonstrating how Te Ao Māori knowledge and ways of doing research can re-imagine sustainable solutions. (Government invests in scientific research to boost economy, address climate change and enhance wellbeing)

Enjoy this song by Pere Wihongi in the tune of 'September' by Earth, Wind & Fire’ that celebrates Mahuru Māori and encourages us to celebrate te reo Māori all year round.

Kia kaha rā tātou! Tukuna te reo kia rere.
Let’s all make an effort. Unleash the Māori language so that it may soar.

Ngā Pou Matarua | Co-Directors
    - Professor Linda Waimarie Nikora
    - Professor Tahu Kukutai

Kaupapa o te Marama: September Māori Language Challenge

“Tawhiti rawa atu tō tātou haerenga te kore haere tonu, mahi rawa atu ō tātou mahi te kore mahi tonu”

These kupu from the late, great Taitokerau leader Sir James Henare remind us that we have come too far not to go further, and have done too much not to do more. These wise words resonate in the context of Mahuru Māori in which we remember the tremendous achievements and sacrifices made by so many Māori to keep our language alive (Ngā Tamatoa and Te Reo Maori Society), and to innovate creative and fun ways to embrace te reo and expand its reach and presence throughout the motu (nation).

NPM Board member and Māori Language Commissioner Professor Rawinia Higgins has been a longtime advocate for Māori language revitalisation. Her research with Dr Poia Rewi, a former NPM researcher who is now the Chief Executive of Te Mātāwai, has been a crucial part of the expert evidence base informing interventions to normalise te reo.

One of the major studies that Rawinia and Poia undertook for NPM wasTe Kura Roa-Waiaro: State responsiveness towards the Māori language’.
Information was gathered from more than 700 community language people and 12 government departments to evaluate community efforts and government attitudes towards te reo.

The findings were included in a collection of research writings The Value of the Māori Language: Te Hua o te Reo Māori  that looks at the state of the language since the passing of the 1987 Māori Language Act. 

Rawinia says "it's important to look back to appreciate just how much the language has been revitalised" (RNZ Interview: Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, Māori Language Week, begins).

As she writes in The Spinoff, it takes one generation to lose a language and three generations to restore it. 

In 2018 the Government set a target for one million New Zealanders (approximately 20% of the population) to be able to speak at least basic te reo Māori by 2040, and for te reo to be the primary language for 150 000 Māori.

The movement to recognise and restore te reo is as important as ever.

Watch this short clip from 2011 that profiles the research study ‘Te Kura Roa-Waiaro’

Rangahau | Research

‘Puni reo: Normalising Māori Language in new domains’
Professor Jenny Lee Morgan and Dr Jennifer Martin
When we think of places where te reo Māori can flourish, we often think of marae, kōhanga and kura (Māori language preschools and schools). However, what is the potential for Māori language revitalisation in spaces that are not ‘traditional’ language arenas but where younger Māori spend a lot of their time?

This is one of the questions animating a report focused on Puni Reo - Māori language spaces and events. 'Puni reo: Normalising Māori Language in new domains' is an NPM scoping project led by Professor Jenny Lee Morgan and Dr Jennifer Martin of Ngā Wai a Te Tūī Māori and Indigenous Research Centre.

Puni Reo are becoming an important part of the contemporary Māori language movement, where te reo is promoted in everyday activities such as sports. 

Jennifer says that Te Puni Reo aims to “create an environment outside of strong reo areas. It's a place where te reo Māori can be heard and used by children on a daily basis.” 

The scoping study focused on an annual Puni Reo Poitarawhiti (Māori language netball event) held at Te Pai Netball courts in Waitakere. In its third year, the 2021 event attracted 72 teams from 25 schools. The research team already had strong connections to the community with Jenny and her husband Eruera’s four children all being avid netball players. 

As well as attending the event, the research team undertook interviews with organisers, teachers, umpires, coaches, parents and students to better understand the event’s potential and multiple impacts.

As a Māori-language event, the Puni Reo is one which takes more than a team effort, involving those on and off the court. For example, all of the announcements throughout the day are in te reo Māori. The research emphasised the importance of collective community input for maintaining the event, especially in the absence of resources and funding.

Jennifer says that while there are a lot of netball tournaments held in Waitakere,  English is the dominant language. Having events like Puni Reo Poitarawhiti are important for normalising te reo Māori in forums where rangatahi (youth) can get together, have fun, make connections, and hone their competitive edge. Jennifer says that driving te reo Māori through sports could be a game-changer for revitalising te reo Māori.

“We only have to look at the Pulse and rugby for examples. A number of famous athletes speak te reo Māori. The survival of the language doesn’t solely rely on sports but it can certainly be a vehicle."

Te Ao Māori News: Funding te reo sports events could be a game changer in normalising te reo Māori

View the report here


Puna Mātauranga | Publications, Journals

Call for Papers 2021 and 2022
MAI Journal is now calling for papers to be considered for publication in 2021 and 2022.

All submissions received before 31 October will be prioritised for publishing in the next 2021 December Issue or the first 2022 June Issue
MAI Journal publishes multidisciplinary peer-reviewed articles around indigenous knowledge and development in the context of Aotearoa New Zealand. All papers must critically address and engage with current international and national literature and academic and/or indigenous theory and make a significant contribution to the field of Indigenous studies. Authors are welcome to discuss their ideas with members of the MAI Journal editorial board.


Save the Date! 20 October, NPM Webinar
Join the authors of a new report 'He huringa āhuarangi, he huringa ao: a changing climate, a changing world' that argues for a kaupapa Māori approach to climate change risk assessment and find out why this kaupapa is so important for Māori and Aotearoa New Zealand.

Wednesday, 20 October
12.00-1.00pm (NZT)

"He huringa āhuarangi, he huringa ao: a changing climate, a changing world" is due to be published 20 October 2021.

He Pitopito Kōrero | News, Announcements

Wāhine Māori Science Researchers at the top of their field
Jane with sons and hoa tāne (husband) in the lower Oreti River, Southland.  (Photo Courtesy of Otago University Press. Photographer, Grant Maiden )
NPM Board member Dr Jane Kitson of Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Mamoe, Waitaha and Cawthron senior scientist Dr Joanna Clapcott of Ngati Porou were successful applicants of this year’s Endeavour Funding round for their research proposal ‘Fish futures: preparing for novel freshwater ecosystems'. 

They say...

“Joanne and I are very excited to be co-leading this research together. The proposal's success recognises the importance of growing transdisciplinary capability in Aotearoa.

As kairangahau wāhine Māori (Māori women researchers) we lead by example by providing an inclusive and diverse space focussed on finding shared solutions to the environmental problems of today and tomorrow.
We respect and foster two knowledge systems but look forward to elevating mātauranga o te wai (Māori knowledge systems on freshwater science) to help transform the way we care for both native and introduced freshwater fish in Aotearoa.

We would also like to recognise the Biological Heritage National Science Challenge that invested in a scoping study that lead to the development of the Endeavour proposal.” - Dr Jane Kitson

Dr Joanna Clapcott
NPM Co-Director Appointed to Inaugural Māori Charitable Trust for Pūhoro STEM
A hugely successful programme that helps Māori high school students excel in science, technology, engineering and maths is now being overseen by an independent Māori trust that will guide its national expansion.

The Pūhoro STEM Academy was set up at Massey University in 2016 to work with local high schools to accelerate Māori student success in STEM subjects, and prepare them for a smooth transition to tertiary study.

Six years later, Pūhoro rangatahi are five times more likely than other Māori school leavers to transition from secondary to tertiary education at degree level.

The Pūhoro Charitable Trust, created by, with, and for Māori, has responsibility for Pūhoro. The six inaugural Board members are experienced leaders from across the Research Science and Innovation sector and Te Ao Māori. They are: Robin Hapi CNZM (Co-Chair), Dr Jessica Hutchings (Co-Chair), Sir Mark Solomon, Professor Tahu Kukutai, Dr Meika Foster, and Pūhoro STEM Academy Founder and Manahautū /Chief Executive Naomi Manu.
The Trust will deliver an enhanced STEMM kaupapa that recognises the value of mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge systems) alongside traditional STEM disciplines. 

Tahu is excited by the opportunities to take the Pūhoro programme to more rangatahi: “With our youthful Māori population, we need to be really purposeful in how we support rangatahi to participate and lead in STEMM. The new focus on Mātauranga Māori is an important innovation that strengthens the Pūhoro kaupapa moving forward” - Professor Tahu Kukutai.

Find out more about Pūhoro here:
Human Rights Commission National Action Plan Against Racism
“What does a racism-free Aotearoa New Zealand look like and how can we get there?”

The Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon is calling for contributions to the development of a national action plan against racism.  

The Human Rights Commission (HRC) is engaging with the public over the best action to take to eliminate racism in Aotearoa New Zealand need kōrero and whakaaro from tangata whenua to ensure voices are heard on a kaupapa vital to informing a national action plan against racism that is genuine, effective and Te Tiriti o Waitangi based.
You can visit the website for information on how you can assist work towards the plan by making a submission.

Submissions will be treated anonymously, and the Commission will put them in a report to the government which is responsible for the plan and its implementation.

Noho ora mai rā,

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