© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2022

Māori in science needs investment

Grace Thomas
maori design board
Maori science needs investment   Duncan Weich

The government is pushing for more diversity in New Zealand's science industry, and a Lincoln University Māori researcher manager wants proper investment in the issue.

The government wants to start a conversation around diversity in New Zealand's science industry. 

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment released a statement on diversity in science. It states that it is committed to having a successful science and research workforce, reflective of New Zealand's diversity. 

Currently, Māori make up less than 2 percent of the scientific workforce.

Māori Research manager, Melanie Mark-Shadbolt, said there's plenty of Māori qualified and interested in working in the industry but "the current working environment isn't conducive to the way Māori work". 

"We have Māori with science PhD's working in other fields." said Mark-Shadbolt.

Mark-Shadbolt works alongside hapū and whānau in her role as Indigenous environmental sociologist and Māori Research manager at Lincoln University, allowing her to show whānau science in ways that are relevant to them. 

"Māori need to be able to see the relevance of science to their world, and see themselves in science", said Mark-Shadbolt.

In the government release, Minister of Science and Innovation, Dr. Megan Woods said diversity will create a stronger science system to benefit all New Zealanders. 

Mark-Shadbolt said diversity brings different approaches to science, with Māori approaches putting whenua first.  

She believed investment and promotion was the way forward to increase Māori diversity. 

"We need investment in Māori research and researchers, we need investment in Māori science students, and we need investment in secondary school science programmes to make them exciting and relevant." said Mark-Shadbolt.