NPM Researcher Appointed Cultural Commissioner

NPM Principal Investigator, previous Research Director, and University of Auckland academic Dr Dan Hikuroa (Ngāti Maniapoto, Waikato-Tainui, Pākehā) has been appointed to the position of Commissioner – Culture, on the New Zealand National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)

Dan is currently a Senior Lecturer at Te Wānanga o Waipapa, Māori Studies, and has over the years undertaken several NPM research projects investigating the enormous potential that integrating Indigenous knowledge and science can produce, both theoretically and practically.

He has completed the significant research projects: “Restoring the mauri to Rotoitipaku (Industrial Waste Site): Implementing Mātauranga in a Scientific Paradigm”  and “Harvesting the fruits of Papatūānuku: A Kaitiaki Approach to Geothermal Development”.

His most recent NPM project,  Te Awaroa - 1000 Rivers in a State of Ora by 2050 involves several communities and is being conducted in collaboration with Distinguished Professor Dame Anne Salmond. The project is inspiring New Zealanders to take care of our rivers, trialing innovative concepts and approaches to river care, particularly bringing together mātauranga, local knowledge and science; running collaborative learning events, with a particular focus on engaging young people and change agents.

Dan has for much of his career been spearheading alternative ways of assessing sustainability, where Indigenous knowledge and Western science meet, and has deep expertise in the areas of Earth Systems, Mātauranga Māori, climate change, natural hazards and waterways.

“I am looking forward to contributing to two UNESCO New Zealand strategic target areas. Firstly, Indigenous knowledge in shaping a sustainable future and also, oceans for the wellbeing of people and planet 2018-2021. I see both of these things as being inexorably linked.”

Dan continues, "UNESCO is a mechanism for trying to understand better how we see ourselves as part of the planet, how we might contribute to that Indigenous knowledge for a sustainable future .... its really important for Māori that we engage with UNESCO and its efforts."

NPM wishes Dan well in this new role, which he will hold for the next three years.

Dr Dan Hikuroa - Interview