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Maori Research Institute concept unveiled with emphasis on sustainability

Environmental sustainability looks to play a central role for a proposed Maori Research Institute. The Te Arawa branch of the Federation of Maori Authorities (Te Arawa FoMA) initiated the concept last week, saying the institute will play a vital role in creating opportunities for Maori to get involved in science and innovations projects, which are vital in the future development of Maori land and business. 

The institute intends to work closely with different crown research institutes, universities, polytechnics, schools, Maori trusts and incorporations, and relevant government departments and agencies, local and regional councils, and others who foster clean, green initiatives for New Zealand. 

Te Arawa FoMA said it is important proper scientific research is carried out for the benefit of Maori community and this can be achieved by involving members of Maori community in the research teams and it says involvement may be fostered through Marae-based initiatives. 

The institute’s co-director, Tom Walters, said  the aim is to make the institute not only a centre of excellence, but also a centre of attraction. 

“We will develop strong links with industry and other science providers to provide mechanisms for information transfer to Marae and Trust based organisations across all sectors from primary production to identifying clean energy project opportunities,” he said. 

The institute is also planning to run courses, workshops and seminars to help  foster the personal development of Maori farmers in the areas of sustainable farming and forestry.

“One of the most important tasks is to promote the research and study of environmental sustainability by encouraging post-graduate students, especially from within the Maori community,” said Malcolm Short, chairperson of Te Arawa FoMA and co-director of the Maori Research Institute. 

Dr Guna Magesan has been appointed as the institute’s senior resident scientist.