Why research concerning Māori peoples?
Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga conducts research of relevance to Māori peoples who represent an extraordinary and distinctive dimension of New Zealand society, culture and economy. A specific research programme concerning Māori peoples is required for a number of reasons. While there is considerable diversity amongst the Māori population land the boundaries between this community and others are porous, it remains meaningful to recognise that there is a group of people who can be termed Māori and identify as such. This population represents a significant set of distinctive opportunities and a series of challenges that do not arise in other communities in quite the same way.
Some of these include:
• Resources, assets and organisations created out of historical circumstances and the conclusion of Treaty of Waitangi claims.
• A growing cultural creativity arising from Māori people and their traditional knowledge; for example tā moko, haka, taonga pūoro, whare tapere and whare wānanga.
• A youthful population generating contributions to various arenas; for example broadcasting and the performing arts.
• Ideas drawn from traditional knowledge to contribute to the general New Zealand culture, for example: the place of elders in society, the relationship between the individual and collective, and the bond between human communities and the natural world.
Some challenges are:
• The health disparities that face Māori communities.
• Educational underachievement remains significant.
• The significant incarceration of Māori individuals in our prison system.
• A large number of assets (such as land) remain in inadequate arrangements.
• The low participation of Māori people in aspects of society and the economy continues to be an issue.
These opportunities and challenges require a particular range of responses and strategies including research.