Science Wānanga grew out of a request from the late Dr Paratene Ngata in 2007. Dr Ngata was happy with the progress Ngati Porou had made in getting their young people strong in tikanga Māori and kapahaka; he was equally proud of the strides they had made in IT proficiency.
Next on Dr Ngata's list was getting Ngati Porou rangatahi (youth) invested in Science so that when they went to university they would be self-sufficient in their ability to excel academically.
With that in mind, Sciences staff worked with Ngati Porou – specifically Hauiti Marae and staff at Tolaga Bay Area School – to develop a programme that would bring scientists onto marae to deliver a science project related to iwi aspirations and concerns.
Once the community has identified a topic, the Wānanga team seeks out suitable staff and students within our networks who can effectively deliver the science required. As well as considering staff and students from the University of Otago, we have links with other institutions and we explore the potential of using local scientists. This makes on-going relationships easier to maintain, providing added value to the communities, schools and local scientists.
Science Wānanga embodies the relationships between the University, runanga, marae, and schools. Whanaungatanga (hanging out together and caring about each other) is vital and rangatahi get to spend work-time and down-time with scientists and university students. Often once students relax, they start to have the one-to-one korero, kanohi ki te kanohi that is so valuable: