30 Jan 2016

Maori science academy launched

5:04 pm on 30 January 2016

The first Maori science academy has been launched in Palmerston North.

Mana Vautier

The academy's ambassador is NASA aerospace engineer Mana Vautier. Photo: Supplied

Supported by Massey University, it's aimed at helping year 11 students do better in science and maths.

About 300 people attended the official opening of the academy, which will help more than 70 Maori high-school students in Manawatu.

Massey University spokesperson Naomi Manu said it would provide tutorials and mentoring, and that support would continue into university for those who study science.

In 2014, only 23 percent of Maori students passed one or more science or maths subjects, less than half the overall rate.

The academy's ambassador is NASA aerospace engineer Mana Vautier who travelled from the United States for the launch.

Mr Vautier, who is of Tuhourangi, Te Arawa and Ngati Kahungunu descent, hopes to be the first Maori to go into space.