A group of rangatahi Māori have experienced first-hand what a future career in science may look like. The opportunity arose from a new partnership aimed at exposing young people to opportunities in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Mātauranga (STEMM) system.

Te Rūnanga o Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa, in partnership with the Pūhoro STEMM Academy and Crown Research Institute AgResearch, recently took the group to visit Te Ohu Rangahau Kai — a science facility AgResearch shares with Massey University and the Riddet Institute.

“Whānau Māori in small rural communities like Marton need opportunities to participate and learn,” says Katarina Hina, General Manager for Rūnanga Operations.

“This collaboration between Pūhoro STEMM Academy and AgResearch provides a doorway for young Māori from communities like ours to engage and broaden their experiences and understanding. As an iwi working in our community, we are excited to be able to facilitate access to these opportunities for our local whānau through the networks, partnerships, services and programmes that we have.”

Rangatahi spent the day meeting with Māori who work in STEMM and getting a hands-on experience of pūtaiao (science) in action. Stories were shared by Māori students and researchers from various backgrounds to show rangatahi that a career in STEMM is not only possible, but desirable.

“It is always a privilege to support our rangatahi as they explore STEMM and extend their line of sight into the diversity of careers and opportunities in the sector,” says Pūhoro’s Manahautū (chief executive), Kemp Reweti.

“Our partnership with AgResearch helps provide us with further opportunities such as this to strengthen and build upon these opportunities with rangatahi Māōri.”

Pūhoro’s Manahautū (chief executive), Kemp Reweti

From a taonga hunt through the taiao, where mātauranga was shared about various rongoā rakau,the rangatahi extended that knowledge into an applied setting, participating in a sensory trial of the same taonga they learned about in the bush. “I wanted to channel their natural curiosity in different settings and show some of the many ways knowledge can be built and applied,” says AgResearch’s Kaitūhono (connector), Tai Harmer.

"Whether you like the outdoors or want to feed your whānau, the opportunities are endless. Māori are the original scientists of Aotearoa; it’s in our whakapapa, so reconnecting rangatahi to that identity is important.”

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