A Founding Director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga to Address Prestigious Science Body

Professor Michael Walker (Whakatōhea) ONZM, a founding Joint Director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (NPM), New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence, has been invited to deliver the opening address of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) General Assembly on the 30th August, 2014.

This Saturday at the Auckland Museum Professor Walker will give the opening keynote presentation to this pre-eminent group of scientists, who are visiting the country for next week’s 31st ICSU General Assembly.

Hosted by the Royal Society of New Zealand, the general assembly will feature attendees representing scientific societies and unions from around the world, including Nobel Prize winners in multiple categories.

The four day summit is just one of a number of high-level scientific conferences occurring in New Zealand at the moment, covering topics such as climate change and global sustainability.

The invitation recognises the contribution and excellence of one of New Zealand’s top Māori Scientists, and the perspectives, knowledge and understanding he provides from a Māori worldview to enlighten one of the world’s most prestigious science bodies.

In his presentation to the ICSU Professor Walker will provide an insight into the societal, environmental and ecological impacts of both Polynesian and European migration to Aotearoa New Zealand. Māori came here utilising advanced voyaging technologies and navigation techniques and upon arrival rapidly adjusted and adapted to entirely new ecologies and landscapes.

Dramatic impacts occurred to these landscapes, but new knowledge was gained and a tribal society emerged marking the transition from survival mode to flourishing tribal nations. Professor Walker details the ongoing environmental modifications and extinctions that then subsequently occurred after European colonisation and the resulting societal challenges that continue to the present day.

Professor Walker will present the members of the ICSU with an introduction to Aotearoa, its indigenous Māori communities and history, its ecology, the outlook for the future of the nation and how the lessons learnt here might contribute to the current discussions of wider global issues.