Addressing the Colonial Legacies of Science

a Crown research institute case study




te Tiriti o Waitangi, social practice theory, decolonisation, Crown research institute


Science needs to address its colonial legacies. While the Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways envisioned reforms of the research, science and innovation system has lost momentum, individuals and organisations across Aotearoa recognise, and are reaffirming, that the country’s future prospects lie in embracing Tiriti-led policies and practices. In 2021 Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research (a Crown research institute mandated to ensure that the life force and vitality of the land is strong) committed to weaving the principles of te Tiriti o Waitangi into its fabric. As employees, we use social practice theory in this article to evaluate the changes our organisation is experiencing on its journey to being Tiriti-led, and assess the lessons, impacts, successes and failures. This case study highlights the values–action gaps currently evident across the science system and provides insights into the various elements required to enable transformative change and new social norms within knowledge production policies and practice.


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Author Biographies

Dean Stronge, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research

Dean Stronge is a researcher in environmental social science at Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research and is the corresponding author:

Alison Greenaway, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research

Alison Greenaway is the acting science team leader for landscape, policy and governance at Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research.

Nick Kirk, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research

Nick Kirk is a researcher in environmental social science at Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research.