Seminars

The wide variety of cultural and social features among Māori present a formidable challenge to those who seek to understand Māori identity – what ‘it’ is and how ‘it’ may be conceptualised and defined.

The 5 October 2011 grounding of the MV Rena on Otaiti was acknowledged as the worst environmental disaster in New Zealand’s history. The grounding and subsequent pollution had significant environmental impacts that were experienced in anthropogenic terms as impacts upon social, economic, and cultural well-being. The Ministry for the Environment responded with the Rena Long-Term Environmental Recovery Plan launched on 26 January 2012. The plan’s goal is to “restore the mauri of the affected environment to its pre-Rena state”.

Minority language speakers are being placed under increasing pressure to use languages that are moredominant, more prestigious, or more widely known. This is particularly so when using internet–based technology. Ironically, minority language groups are increasingly embracing the power of this technology as they struggle to ensure the continued health and survival of their own languages. Māori are no exception. Initiatives involving the Microsoft Corporation, Moodle and Google Inc. have resulted in a range of localised interfaces now available in the Māori language.

Associate Professor Paul Kayes, Kia Maia Ellis and James (Hemi) O’Callaghan will discuss the Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga research project they are leading - “An investigation into the fisheries resources and interests of iwi, hapū and marae within Tauranga Moana and the impacts caused by the grounding of the CV Rena”. This research aims to assess the status of selected taonga shellfish (including pipi, tuatua, kina and pāua) resources within the Rohe Moana o Tauranga Moana, and the impacts caused by the grounding of the cargo vessel Rena on these fisheries and iwi ability to manage them.

Dr Joseph Te Rito will describe in this seminar the development of a spoken language corpus of the Māori language, and efforts to enhance it for the language’s revitalisation. The spoken corpus is that of the Rongomaiwahine and Ngāti Kahungunu tribes. It is comprised of over 2,000 on-air recordings of elders for whom Māori is their first language. The collection has been created and gathered over the last 25 years by Radio Kahungunu, which Dr Te Rito heads.

Dr Shaun Ogilvie explored new frontiers of knowledge in this seminar by posing a new approach for the relationship between what are often considered to be two distinct bodies of knowledge: mātauranga Māori and applied ecology.

To watch the video of this seminar, click here

The first Horizons of Insight Seminar for 2013 was Professor Charles Royal speaking on “Creative Potential” – the vision and concept underpinning the strategy of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga. If you missed this seminar, click here to watch the video.

“Whatukura: a computer based model of the human eye” is a long term research project in which Dr Jason Turuwhenua and his research team are aiming to produce optically and biomechanically functional computer eye models. Through such modelling he expects to increase our understanding of the eye and its diseases, and hopes to provide enhanced clinical diagnostics and interactions with patients.

Professor Ngahuia Te Awekotuku and Associate Professor Linda Waimarie Nikora lead the Tangi Research Programme at the University of Waikato. The researchers are committed to studying tangi, conscious of the belief that such work in itself carries the inherent risk of "karanga aitua" or calling down misfortune by drawing attention to it. Contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand is constantly influenced by tangi practice, through the popular media and through personal exposure; elements of tangi engage people every day.

Technology has been an important part of the 28th Māori Battalion D Company history project, called Au e Ihu! Ngā Mōrehu Taua: Those that are left behind must endeavour to complete the work, allowing taonga to be displayed and protected for generations to come.

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