Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Nga Pae o te Maramatanga to end

Rumours that surfaced over the weekend have turned out to be true: Nga Pae o te Maramatanga, the only Centre of Research Excellence focused on Maori concerns, has not made the short-list for continued funding.

They are in good company. Lincoln University's Bioprotection Research Centre, Massey's Riddet Centre (food and digestion) and Gravida (human growth and development) have all missed the cut.

Nga Pae's director, CHarles Royal said in a release that they were 'deeply disappointed' and planned to reflect on the decision, planning the response and next steps.

Funding is in place until 2015, which will help support some of our postgrad support at Lincoln.

I admit to being more surprised at the Bioprotection decision than the Nga Pae one. For various reason, Nga Pae hasn't pulled together under the vision first articulated a decade ago. The International links never coagulated into strong research ties. Visiting speakers are all very well but you have to translate all the korero into mahi.

Anyways, life goes on. Decisions on what may amount to four new CoREs will be out soon.

Given the confusion over the National Science Challenges, I have no great hope for Aoteaora/NZ being able to research its way into a sustainable, prosperous, secure future.


Dan Hikuroa said...

Kia ora Simon,
Nga mihi o te at rangi ki a koe.
I read with disappointment your comments on your blog yesterday.
They read as if the Ngā Pae vision articulated a decade ago was solely to establish international links and cement those into strong research ties, but instead all we did was bring out visiting speakers. There are a range of international research collaborations making differences in Māori communities to refute that claim (with Professor Karina Walters as one example), but that would be missing the main point. Establishing international links was only ever a small component of the vision. The following are excerpts from the abstract of the original proposal submitted in 2002, that I believe, more accurately capture the vision:
“Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (Horizons of Insight) assembles for the first time a critical mass of excellent Māori researchers from across disciplines and institutions to collaborate in research to transform the Māori community to full participation in society and the economy. We will do this through a strategic focus that builds on Māori strengths in three critical enablers: education, health and science. The Institute will bring together Māori and western intellectual traditions and experience to generate new hypotheses that can be tested using discipline-based methodologies.”
The goal of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga was to yield multipliers on investment in research by:
1. “drawing on Māori and mainstream knowledge and thought to raise standards of research;
2. improving uptake of research through engagement with Māori social structures;
3. expanding and deepening both Māori and national research capability.”
Critical success factors were identified as: (1) ensuring critical engagement of expert Māori and their communities in formulation, conduct and communication of the research and (2) creating a synergy of excellence across disciplines that abolishes the isolation experienced by many Māori scholars under current institutional arrangements. Both of those have been achieved.
Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga had in 2002 as its Vision the transformation of Māori society to achieve full participation by Māori in all aspects of society and the economy. The Mission of the Institute will be to provide excellent research, training and knowledge transfer to support achievement of the vision.
The Vision and Mission evolved through time. Our current Vision is to nleash the creativ epotential of Māori people to bring about positive change and transofrmation in the world. The Mission is to conduct excellent research relevant to Māori communities – research which leads to transformation and positive change. Through research we seek to discover and enable development opportunities and creative potential in Māori.
Heoi ano, we remain disappointed, but not broken, and are considering the next steps. As my tipuna said: “Ka whawhai tonu matou, ake, ake, ake”
Mauri ora,
Dan Hikuroa, Research Director, Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga

Simon Lambert said...

Kia ora Dan,
Not exactly what I said, which was 'Nga Pae hasn't pulled together under the vision first articulated a decade ago' As you point out it was actually 12 years ago and I (and others) maintain that it hasn't 'pulled together' as first articulated. The Panel clearly agree. (And this was reported on in the 'Cores and Effect' report http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/tertiary_education/cores-and-effect

'The International links never coagulated into strong research ties.' If we're want to be excellent, we put ourselves alongside those who are better and get lifted up by them. International collaboration, yes while a lesser focus, was something mooted (and indeed undertaken) but not to the level I expected.

'Visiting speakers are all very well but you have to translate all the korero into mahi.' Which for me is research programmes. I have utmost respect for those speakers - that's not the issue.

$34.5 million up until 2010, some of which we've secured down here at Lincoln.

But all this takes place with the decision not to even short-list Nga Pae! An empirical fact. Not my decision!

Sad day for all Maori researchers (there are good Maori researchers in the other CoRES not being refunded, as well as Nga Pae).

Kia kaha koutou!

Simon Lambert said...

Just following on from one point Dan's made. The criteria for refunding includes international collaboration (within the 'Research Excellence' category, which is 70% of the weighting). This really needed to be worked on prior to this year. Can't understand why it wasn't embedded...

Simon Lambert

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