PIPIRI | JUNE 2022
The NPM whānau was thrilled to witness the landmark celebration of Matariki unfold across Aotearoa, cementing mātauranga as a core part of our national identity. Many of us tuned in to watch the pre-dawn ceremony that took place at Te Papa Tongarewa to welcome the star cluster Matariki (also known as Pleiades) that heralds the beginning of the Māori New Year. This year’s celebration also marked the official launch of Matariki as Aotearoa’s first uniquely Indigenous public holiday.
NPM senior researcher Professor Rangi Matamua (Tūhoe) - known as the ‘Matariki man’ - was a driving force behind the change. His bestselling book Matariki: The star of the year assembled centuries of ancestral astronomical knowledge and decades of his own research on Matariki.
Rangi - a former recipient of the prestigious Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize - also chaired the Matariki Advisory Group which provided advice to the Government on the formation of the Matriki public holiday - Aotearoa’s first new public holiday in nearly a century! (E-Tangata). Ngā mihi nunui ki a koe e Rangi!
Mātauranga was also front and centre of a recent Spinoff article ‘The place for mātauranga Māori is alongside science’. The piece profiled another NPM senior researcher and physicist, Associate Professor Ocean Mercier (Ngāti Porou).
Ocean’s research focuses on how mātauranga and science connect and relate, particularly in educational and environmental contexts. In her NPM role as Pou Pae Tawhiti (Lead, Living Lightly), Ocean walks alongside our researchers to generate impactful, mātauranga-informed research that supports responsible social, economic and environmental relationships.
Finally, we extend our hearty congratulations to the successful recipients of our recently awarded Matakitenga Research Grants. The awards of up to $60k were available to multi-institutional Māori-led research that contributes to specific outcomes and our overall mission as expressed through the NPM Matakitenga Research Framework. Our Rangahau Committee, led by Professor Melinda Webber (Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Whakaue), was impressed with the breadth and quality of the submissions - you can read more about the funded projects below.
As always, a great deal of mahi lies ahead for the NPM whānau. But for now, we should all endeavour to take a pause - rest, recharge and reset.
Mānawatia a Matariki!
Ngā Pou Matarua | Co-Directors
- Professor Tahu Kukutai
- Professor Linda Waimarie Nikora