MOU celebrates ongoing partnership with Whakarewarewa Living Village

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MOU celebrates ongoing partnership with Whakarewarewa Living Village

2 August, 2021

We celebrated our collaboration with our partners at Whakarewarewa Village with the signing of a second memorandum of understanding (MOU) and a Statement of Intent on 28 July, 2021. 

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The partnership is built on strong shared values and collaboration between Mātauranga and other parts of science (which led to the presentation of joint research papers at this year’s World Geothermal Congress). 

This new MOU and Statement of Intent set a path towards a shared vision for -

  • A world-class Mātauranga Māori science education centre based at Whakarewarewa Village,
  • Science career development for Village rangatahi,

and much more, including support for commercialisation of research within the Village through targeted funding.

For the MacDiarmid Institute a key goal will be to build on the collaboration over the past three years, and explore further synergies between the two knowledge systems Mātauranga Māori and materials science.

The co-design process is underway to create a new Mātauranga Māori Education Centre based at Whakarewarewa. It is led on the MacDiarmid side by Māori Science Leader and Principal Investigator, Dr Pauline Harrisfrom Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Rakaipaaka and Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa, and Victoria University of Wellington Master of Architecture student, Ben Nielsen, who have been involved with wānanga in the Village last month. This is a key part of elevating Mātauranga Māori.

MacDiarmid Co-Director, Associate Professor Nicola Gaston said a goal of the partnership would be to support culturally safe scientific education for Māori, and to elevate Mātauranga Māori.

We hope this will lead to a world-leading education centre for indigenous knowledge and position Whakarewarewa to grow a strong presence in the natural sciences.

Associate Professor Nicola Gaston Co-Director The MacDiarmid Institute

Whakarewarewa Village Charitable Trust (WVCT) Chairperson James Warbrick said that the new MOU would build on the existing relationship  and the shared values of the MacDiarmid Institute and the WVCT.

“Our shared values of manaakitanga, kotahitanga and whanaungatanga, which underpin this relationship, have led to the success of our collaboration over the past three years. Together we’ve been combining materials science knowledge with traditional knowledge, understanding more around the colours in the rocks and waters of Whakarewarewa and surrounding areas, weaving together the legends, waiata, stories and science.”

He said the  co-design of a new Mātauranga Science Education Centre based at Whakarewarewa had already begun.

Wānanga are being held in the Village to co-design an educational hub that will share and celebrate the Mātauranga of the Village and surrounds, building on the guiding legacy of the Village, and showing our rangatahi that Mātauranga and other types of science have been understood and worked with for millennia.

James Warbrick Chairperson Whakarewarewa Village Charitable Trust (WVCT)

MacDiarmid Co-Director, Professor Justin Hodgkiss, who grew up in Rotorua, said that a further goal of the renewed partnership was to work together to address challenges that global warming and climate change posed to the land and rivers. 

TEST 3 IMG 9876 v2“A key goal for the work of the MacDiarmid Institute is to create an equitable, diverse and inclusive future for humanity on this planet, through new discovery of technology for abundant renewable energy, carbon capture and conversion, energy efficiency, and the sustainable and responsible use and reuse of materials. This formal renewal of our relationship will allow us to continue to support the research aspirations of the WVCT and the Village as Māori landowners and kaitiaki of the land and resources, and to work with others to understand the changes that climate change will impose.”

He said he hoped the partnership would also provide support and pathways into science careers for Whakarewarewa people, through internships and scholarships. 

James Warbrick also said that another intent of the MOU was to support tertiary education in the context of Mātauranga Māori and science, engaging in Mātauranga Māori education programs with WVCT.

Further background

Whakarewarewa Village Charitable Trust (WVCT) was established in 1989 with the vision of achieving Rangitiratanga for Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao. The core values of WVCT are:

  • Manaakitanga: extending aroha (love and compassion) to others to strengthen our whanau and community;
  • Kaitiakitanga: providing guardianship of the sky, land, and sea by respecting and conserving the earth, being mindful of the impact of our behaviours and giving back to the land;
  • Kotahitanga: bringing togetherness, to up-lift each other and to include Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao whanau and our manuhiri on our journey;
  • Whanaungatanga; strengthening deep relationships within the Iwi/whanau/community as well as our business community;
  • Whakaiti: demonstrating inspirational leadership through enabling others to lead, become adaptable, and grow as individual team particpants;
  • Mauri ora; fostering good health and wellbeing – wairua (spirit), hinengaro (mind), and tinana (body), and whanau (family) from the learnings of Matauranga Māori and Tikanga Māori.

The WVCT is the sole shareholder of Whakarewarewa Village Tours Ltd, which trades as the Whakarewarewa Living Māori Village whom manage around 110,000 tourists each year to the village and associated the active thermal area within the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve. Whakarewarewa is an iconic centre of Māori culture and geothermal features in Rotorua, New Zealand.

The MacDiarmid Institute is a nationwide Centre of Research Excellence funded by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). The core values of the MacDiarmid Institute are:

  • Manaakitanga: enacted through materials science research to care for the planet’s changing needs through minimising the material impact we make;
  • Kotahitanga: enacted by working for an equitable, diverse and inclusive future for all on this planet;
  • Māramatanga: enacted by growing people’s capability in research, commercialisation and engagement with communities;
  • Whanaungatanga: enacted by enabling connections and relationships by fostering the development of investigators and students. 

The MacDiarmid Institute has provided expertise in scientific research and education, in collaboration with WVCT over the past three ears. It has recently been re-funded as a Centre of Research Excellence by the TEC for the next 7.5 years, to the end of 2028, and there is a joint desire for the two parties to formalise an MOU to establish ongoing commercial and non-commercial collaborations over the next decade. 

See more about our Mātauranga Māori Research Policy here.