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Vol. 78 No. 1-4 (2022)

A bridge between: Te Ao Māori and Te Ara Paerangi

June 18, 2023



Aotearoa New Zealand’s Research, Science and Innovation (RSI) system is undergoing a ‘once in a generation’ reform known as Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways (TAP). One of TAP’s four high-level goals is to embed Te Tiriti o Waitangi across the RSI system. Using the analogy of bridge-making, we draw on insights from Māori submissions to TAP to identify collective Māori expectations for what a Tiriti-embedded system entails.


Submissions were accessed through the document library on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website. 34 submissions from individuals and collectives were identified as Māori. Qualitative Document Analysis was used to identify major themes.


Results are described with reference to basic bridge-building principles of design, foundations, materials and maintenance. Key thematic findings include: Māori, as Tiriti partners, must be meaningfully involved in the reform design; the RSI system’s foundations are deeply colonial - decolonisation is needed to value, respect and protect Māori knowledges and knowledge-holders; workforce development, infrastructure and policies are required to empower partnered and autonomous RSI approaches; and, ongoing system maintenance in the form of monitoring is required to ensure transparency, accountability and equitable benefits.


Having committed to embedding Te Tiriti across the RSI system, MBIE now has a duty of care to deliver on its commitment vis-à-vis the National Research Priorities. This paper is a timely opportunity to set a baseline of collective expectations against which to assess the future efficacy of TAP.

Ka mahi mātou, me te takune hei puananī

We will work with the intent to travel freely in any direction


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