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Book cover thumbnailNgā Kete Mātauranga

Māori scholars at the research interface

Jacinta Ruru and Linda Waimarie Nikora (editors)

In this beautiful and transformative book, 24 Māori academics share their personal journeys, revealing what being Māori has meant for them in their work. Their perspectives provide insight for all New Zealanders into how mātauranga – Māori knowledge – is positively influencing the Western-dominated disciplines of knowledge in the research sector.

Co-editor Jacinta Ruru – a professor of law at the University of Otago and co-director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence – says only about five per cent of academic staff at universities in Aotearoa New Zealand are Māori. Tertiary institutions have, for the most part, been hostile places for indigenous students and staff, and this book is an important call for action.

“It is well past time that our country seriously commits to decolonising the tertiary workforce, curriculum and research agenda,” writes Ruru.

“We hope this book inspires change by those in power to more firmly acknowledge mātauranga and the immense value of increasing Māori at the research interface.”

Ngā Kete Mātauranga also features illustrations by Dunedin-based artist Heramaahina Eketone, whose work focuses on the potency of Māori symbols and motifs.

The book demonstrates the power, energy and diversity that can be brought out into the world by Māori scholars working both comfortably and uncomfortably from within, without and across diverse academic disciplines and mātauranga Māori. – Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith.

These deeply personal stories provide a portal into the te ao Māori world, which many outside it seek to understand, but struggle to find a frame in which to do so. The abstract concept of decolonising the tertiary workforce is brought to life and given meaning by these kōrero of strength, where the authors display courage and vision from within an environment so often hostile to indigenous ways of knowing. Read it, be inspired, and welcome this refreshingly written challenge to embrace mātauranga Māori and build a stronger academy. – Professor Juliet Gerrard, Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor Kaitohutohu Mātanga Pūtaiao Matua ki te Pirimia.

For further information:
Otago University Press

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Alumni: if you have recently published a book please email