The new structure led by Mrs Estoras is central to AgResearch’s vision to have the knowledge system of Mātauranga Māori in equal footing with Western science and existing structures that have helped support positive change in farming practices and food production in Aotearoa over the decades. The move also helps embed Te Ara Tika into AgResearch’s everyday work, which is a national plan to embrace Te Ao Māori values and tikanga based principles to better respond to Māori needs and better deliver to Māori aspirations.
“What we are striving for is an approach where we are adding knowledge and impact to the important science we have always done, so that we can respond with Māori to their needs and aspirations, but also help provide better solutions to farmers and all of society in Aotearoa,” says Mrs Estoras, who herself comes from a background in science.
“Unfortunately, some have viewed Mātauranga Māori as somehow diluting or being out of step with the science we’ve always done in Aotearoa. Some of this seems to be based on a lack of understanding and therefore an inability to see the value we can create. Our approach is centred around the strength of having more than one knowledge system contributing to solutions for some of the most complex challenges facing our communities. One way of looking at it is having the benefit of a `wise old head’ who has gathered knowledge not just from formal settings but also from life experience learning and interacting with farming and the natural world.”