27 October 2021 at 12:01 pm

Māori and indigenous American academics join forces

Influential Māori academics from Aotearoa New Zealand’s universities are collaborating on research ideas with peers from tribal colleges and indigenous communities in the United States.

Over 150 experts have been exchanging ideas at a series of virtual sessions over the last month, hosted by Education New Zealand, Māori university scholarship body Te Kāhui Amokura and the National Science Foundation in the United States.

The MULTIPLIER Planning and Virtual Information Exchange Sessions covered indigenous language research, indigenous data sovereignty, and climate change and its impacts on indigenous communities. Participants included Native American, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian and Māori scholars.

ENZ’s Director of Engagement for North America, DuBois Jennings, says it was a privilege to co-host the meeting of so many powerful academic figures on such important questions.

“We’re incredibly excited to explore ways in which we can support research on these critical issues and foster collaboration between the indigenous communities and nations who participated,” Mr Jennings says.

“Following these events, we hope to build relationships among researchers in our two countries while exploring a bilateral government-to-government agreement to support this crucial research.”

The National Science Foundation’s Keith Chanon, a Program Director in the Office of International Science and Engineering, says they are excited by the amount of interest from the two indigenous research communities in working together.

“There is clearly much to be learned from the experience and traditional knowledge that resides in both countries,” he says.

The National Science Foundation supports basic research and education in all scientific and engineering disciplines, and 25 percent of all federally-funded academic fundamental research at US colleges and universities. The planning and exchange sessions were held under the Foundation’s MULTIPLIER programme, which draws international expertise into its research missions.  

Te Kāhui Amokura – part of Universities New Zealand Te Pōkai Tara – promotes outcomes for Māori university students and staff and Māori scholarship.

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