Whakarewarewa » The MacDiarmid Institute
Whakarewarewa

Our partnerships

Whakarewarewa

Bringing mātauranga Māori and western science together

We've partnered with the Whakarewarewa Village Charitable Trust to use materials science to better understand the natural colours of geothermal rocks and waters at the Whakarewarewa Village and surrounding areas within the Taupō volcanic zone.

Whakarewarewa Lake Kanapanapa seen from above

Roto Kanapanapa (Lake Kanapanapa). Infused with a mixture of geothermal minerals, this lake is green in colour and has a warm ambient temperature. Hot springs form when heated water emerges through cracks in the Earth's surface... and it's the different types of bacteria that give the spring its prismatic colours.

Welcoming the partnership, Whakarewarewa Village Charitable Trust Chief Executive Blair Millar said: "By working with traditional knowledge around the colours in the rocks and waters of Whakarewarewa and surrounding areas, this project will provide new knowledge where skills and experiences can be shared with schools, and relevant curriculum-linked activities based on the themes of mātauranga and science in practice. It's about bringing the stories, the legends, the waiata and the science together."

The work will include chemical analysis of trace elements, and the study of the crystalline structures of the materials. MacDiarmid Institute Co-Director Professor Justin Hodgkiss, who grew up in Rotorua, said: "The project will incorporate and explore synergies between the two knowledge systems of mātauranga Māori and western science."

The research findings and experience from the joint project will be shared openly and a range of communication and knowledge transfer mechanisms with be utilised. Wānanga will be held at the village to transfer knowledge that will in turn be passed on to visitors through the on-going guiding legacy. Educational resources and information collateral (e.g. audio-visual, media, printed material) will be developed and made available through Te Mātāpuna o Papatūānuku, GNS Science – Whakarewarewa facility and online on the MacDiarmid Institute website.

Exploring synergies between two knowledge systems - mātauranga Māori and western science

"By working with traditional knowledge around the colours in the rocks and waters of Whakarewarewa and surrounding areas, this partnership with MacDiarmid provides new knowledge where skills and experiences can be shared with whanau and relevant curriculum-linked activities based on the themes of mātauranga and science in practice.

The work will include chemical analysis of trace elements, and the study of the crystalline structures of the materials. MacDiarmid Institute Co-Director Associate Professor Justin Hodgkiss, who grew up in Rotorua, said: "The project will incorporate and explore synergies between the two knowledge systems of mātauranga Māori and western science."

Whakarewarewatanga o-te-Ope-Taua-a-Wahiao

The proper name of Whakarewarewa: Whakarewarewatanga O Te Ope Taua A Wahiao, meaning “The gathering place for the war parties of Wahiao”, is a geothermal area within Rotorua city in the Taupo Volcanic Zone of New Zealand.

This was the site of the Māori fortress of Te Puia, first occupied around 1325, and known as an impenetrable stronghold never taken in battle. Māori have lived here ever since, taking full advantage of the geothermal activity in the valley for heating and cooking. Wahiao was a great ancestor to the people of this valley and the chief of Ngati Wahiao, a subtribe of Te Arawa.

It's about bringing the stories, the legends, the waiata and the science together.

Blair Millar Chief Executive Whakarewarewa Village Charitable Trust

Media coverage