14 Mar 2014

Maori researchers challenge Govt

10:13 am on 14 March 2014

The Association of Scientists says tangata whenua are being disadvantaged by rules for state funding set aside for science.

A lab technician working at a milk processing plant.

A lab technician working at a milk processing plant. Photo: PHOTO NZ

The organisation's speaking out after the country's Maori Research Centre of Excellence missed out on money from the Tertiary Education Commission.

In particular, it says the National Science Challenges fund does not include a strand to look at matters of significance to Maori.

The putea (fund) highlights 10 specific areas of study, including sustaining health and well-being in old age.

The association says Maori researchers have struggled to be included in the National Science Challenges, which is a disgrace and an embarrassment, considering the scientific community struggles with diversity.

It's supporting recommendations to the Government by Maori researchers.

The suggestions include acknowledging the place of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and including kaupapa Maori elements in all of the National Science Challenges, which also canvasses how to grow the economy through physical and engineering sciences.

Science Minister Steven Joyce says the Government is committed to unlocking Maori potential and it's doing that in a number of ways, including the Matauranga Capability Fund, set a side to improve science systems for Maori researchers to use.