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Otago signs MoUs with Bay of Plenty iwi and Malaysian university

Monday 23 August 2021 1:56pm

mou iwi signing image
The virtual signing of the MoU by Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Richard Blaikie and witnessed by Head of Department of Food Science Professor Indrawati Oey.

In a Memorandum of Understanding signed virtually recently, the University of Otago has entered a multi-party agreement with Ngā Iwi i Te Rohe o Te Waiariki to explore potential marine, science and technology business opportunities.

The MoU, signed by Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Richard Blaikie and witnessed by Food Science Professor Indrawati Oey, has been established in collaboration with other parties including Plant & Food Research, Cawthron Institute, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research and the University of Waikato.

“I’m also incredibly pleased with the enthusiasm shown by all the institutions to form this collaborative relationship, including the expertise they will bring to build a world class and sustainable marine and aquaculture industry alongside communities of the Waiariki region.”

Professor Oey says the MoU is a great opportunity to strengthen the Department of Food Science’s existing relationship with Te Arawa Fisheries, and also build connections with the other parties to address marine environment challenges and explore opportunities.

“Currently I am working on various projects including fishbone utilization and international business development, with the aim to improve the value of fish by-products with zero downstream waste at as our sustainable targets,” Professor Oey says.

BOP Iwi Aquaculture Chairman, Chris Karamea Insley, has worked with Indra for several years including on the development of high premium foods from the waste stream of the fishing industry.

“What first struck me about Indra was her support and alignment of mahi with Māori, but also that her work is driven by consumer thinking which then uses science to bring this to fruition,” Chris says.

“I’m also incredibly pleased with the enthusiasm shown by all the institutions to form this collaborative relationship, including the expertise they will bring to build a world class and sustainable marine and aquaculture industry alongside communities of the Waiariki region.”

Professor Blaikie says the signing is an important step forward for the Department of Food Science.

“The University is proud to be part of this relationship, and it is one we believe will significantly benefit all groups involved.

“We have had a longstanding relationship with Te Arawa, and this agreement is a great opportunity for us to continue that great work with Ngā Iwi i Te Rohe o Te Waiariki.”

mou malaysia
The virtual signing of the MoU by Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Vice-Chancellor Professor Datuk Dr. Ahmad Fauzi bin Ismail and Otago Vice-Chancellor (Acting) Professor Helen Nicholson.

A connection between the University of Otago and the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia is being revived.

The two universities had a memorandum of understanding between 1995 and 2000. Prompted by the appointment of an Otago PhD alumni as a lecturer at the Malaysian university, relations between the two universities have been re-established and a new memorandum of understanding was signed this week.

Associate Professor Vijay Mallan, from Otago’s Higher Education Development Centre (HEDC), proposed the new memorandum after spending time connecting the two organisations over the past two years.

An Otago PhD student, Dr Farhana Bakar, was appointed as a lecturer in 2019 and since starting her role has collaborated with HEDC by inviting Otago staff to deliver professional development workshops on doctoral supervision and research methodology in Malaysia. The two universities jointly deliver international workshops to support doctoral supervisors and students and a recent online seminar facilitated by both, on Developing Good Writing Skills, drew more than 375 participants from 14 countries.

Associate Professor Mallan and HEDC colleague Associate Professor Ben Daniel have both presented workshops at the university and collaborated on joint research into areas such as work-life balance of early career academics, doctoral examination, rigour in research and feedback practices.

Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Helen Nicholson said it was particularly gratifying to be reforging relationships in the current global situation. “The last 18 months have shown us that we live on a very small planet, and the value of personal connections has been highlighted in these times.

“I look forward to renewing our relationship with the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and seeing what it brings to both organisations.”

The new memorandum of understanding is expected to benefit both institutions. The Universiti Teknologi Malaysia requires early career staff to complete a six-month post-doctoral study programme abroad, and Otago may benefit from this. In return, Otago will continue to share its expertise in the areas of doctoral supervision, research methodologies and also technology enhanced teaching and learning.

The Universiti Teknology Malaysia is larger than Otago. It has about 27,000 students and is ranked 47th in Asia in the QS World university rankings.