Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Maori Research Funding

It is difficult to get precise figures for the amount of government investment in Maori research. Three years ago I searched through the FRST Research Abstracts and Report Databases for 2008/09 (keyword 'Māori’) and found 65 projects worth  $51,572,684 out of a total allocation of $500,069,064.

This equates to 10.3% (but does not include other significant funders such as the Health Research Council). 

Many of these projects did not have a significant Māori component (one colleague guessed 10%). Although this in itself does not disqualify any project from being important to Māori, many of us will have been the lone Maori voice on a CRI or other type of project. 

Tutae/uphill/small fork

Further scanning these 65 projects I broke them down to broad sectors and found $38 million for work relevant to Māori land and resources, of which $8,728,555 is designated towards agribusiness; $14,180,423 to forestry; and $1,575,306 to Māori horticulture.

I've just tried to update this survey on MoBIES webpage http://www.msi.govt.nz/update-me/who-got-funded/ and came away completely confused. Again the keyword 'Maori' can be put in, and, da da, $404,877,608.10. 

Love the ten cents.

I clicked on one project 'Adaption to climate variability and change' with NIWA, and found it's worth over 19 million dollars and then sez 'in this small contract we aim to assist Maori communities to better manage the impacts of climate variability' blah blah blah. But this is an old project, starting 2002.

Aha, this is ALL MoBy funded projects dating back to the FRST and then MSI stuff.

I changed the dates and identified projects starting in the last 2 years and came up with $72 million funding across 13 projects. One is of relevance to my research on the impacts of the Otautahi earthquakes on Maori...

No, they didn't ask me ;-(

But that's another korero. At this point it's not possible from the MoBIE data base to identify the funding for Maori researchers, a major concern with the possible/probably demise of Nga Pae. 

So, question: Has the amount of government funding for Maori research truly increased (as my simple keyword search would suggest)?

And if so are we benefiting as Maori researchers??

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Simon Lambert

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