Acknowledging Significance of Indigenous Scholarship

An MBIE review of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC) system (together with the Australian Research Council and the Australian Bureau of Statistics) has created new divisions for Indigenous research in Socio-Economic Objectives (SEO) and Fields of Research (FoR) classifications.

There was a high level of involvement from the research sector throughout the review process with almost 500 submissions, and as well as the new divisions for Indigenous research, it also resulted in the translation of all the Māori codes into Te Reo.

Incoming NPM Co-Director and Principal Investigator Professor Tahu Kukutai, who made submissions on behalf of the Māori Data Sovereignty Network Te Mana Raraunga, sees the introduction of an Indigenous Studies division as a critical step toward strengthening Māori research infrastructure.

"Māori and Indigenous Studies scholars have long struggled for disciplinary recognition - the exclusion of Indigenous Studies from prior classifications rendered us invisible. This change signals a maturing of the sector and acknowledgement of the significance and contribution of Indigenous scholarship and mātauranga Māori. In a practical sense we will finally have Māori specific data with which to track investments, research impact and collective benefit. While there is more to do to support a flourishing Māori RSI sector, this is a step in the right direction.”

The results will be empowering for Indigenous research in New Zealand and Australia, and will have deep implications for how Mātauranga Māori (and Aboriginal culture and knowledge) is framed and validated.

It is important that New Zealand has the ability through the ANZSRC system to categorise our science correctly and show where we are focusing our R&D activity and spend. Aotearoa New Zealand nurtures and works on unique areas of science, such as Indigenous plant species and soils that are not prevalent elsewhere and so the ANZSRC system helps the world understand what we are doing.

The review outcomes reflect changes in research and development activity over the past decade and enables ANZSRC to more accurately reflect the contemporary reality of research here, and support more consistent approach to categorising and defining Indigenous research for the production of official statistics and data on our research and focus.

Link to more information on the MBIE website here