A new educational model has been developed to boost Māori secondary school student's participation in science.
Hiria McRae from Victoria University's Faculty of Education developed the model as part of her doctoral research on science education in Rotorua.
It focused on the experience of Māori students, their teachers and local elders located in one of her tribal areas-Ngāti Whakaue.
Dr McRae found that students connected their sense of belonging and engagement to a place with being with loved ones.
She said when teaching science involves or acknowledges important relationships in the students' lives, this may improve their engagement.
Dr McRae used the Ngāti Whakaue ancestor Pukaki as the focus of her science topic for her model.
The topic considered Pukaki's life of leadership and how he was immortalised as a carved figure which now sits at Rotorua Museum.
Dr McRae is still refining her model and hopes there will be interest from other communities-outside of Ngāti Whakaue and Rotorua-in testing it.