Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga: Issues with the Centre of Research Excellence Fund Round and Process 2013-14

Tena koutou,

This blog has been developed by Te Wharepora Hou to provide an overview of issues directly related to the TEC and Royal Society Centre of Research Excellence Fund Round and Process 2013-14.  We have brought together information from a range of sources and added some recommendations to associated Ministers.  We encourage readers to adapt this information and that from previous blogs by Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith and to write directly to Ministers calling for intervention. 

Some Key points on The Process

Peer Review

The application by Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga was not assessed by its peers.  There were no Māori on the panel.  There were no members of the panel knowledgeable of tikanga Māori, te reo Māori or matauranga Māori.  There were no members of the panel knowledgeable of Kaupapa Māori and Māori research approaches.   There were no members of the panel who had connections to whānau, hapū, iwi or Māori organisations and broader communities who are the direct stakeholders of the work undertaken by Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga.

Panel members not named till after shortlist notification

Royal Society was asked and  they advised that Selection Panel members were not going to be named.  Panel members were then identified on Royal Society website during week commencing 3 March (shortlist notified 1 March). Why were they not named prior to this? And why were Nga Pae advised they will not be and then they were named publically on the Royal Society’s website?

Positive International/National Reviews

Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga received three positive international and national reviews; one at least could be described as glowing. There was little to rebut. It is questionable as to whether these reviews given the level of significance that they should have, particularly given the inability of the panel to assess Māori research.

The role of Royal Society 

Here is a quote from the CoRE funding round guidelines[1]:

It is not the role of the Royal Society of New Zealand to make funding decisions. Rather, their role is one of facilitation and “guardianship” of the assessment process, ensuring that the process is credible and defensible. To achieve this, staff will: organise all logistical aspects of the process;

  • assist the Chair of the CoREs Advisory Committee in determining realistic timetables for meetings and visits;
  • record decisions and collate feedback for applicants;
  • record any conflicts of interest and actions taken; and
  • forward the final recommendations to the Tertiary Education Commission.

It is possible that the TEC did not see that an opportunity had been given to the Royal Society to make what effectively amounts to a funding decision. Nor that Royal Society expected this.  However, by not shortlisting have they made a funding decision?

Secondly, perhaps they did not see that the Royal Society could make a decision of this magnitude (not to fund 4 existing CoREs) without involving the funder, namely the TEC.

No indication in 2012/13 from TEC officials that fundamental change is required

Throughout the rebid process,  Nga Pae received consistent messages from Tertiary Education Commission officials that the Minister was “generally satisfied with the CoREs” and was not seeking major changes to them.  Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga were lead to believe that the Minister was seeking greater yields of value and productivity from them rather than fundamental change. The fact that four CoREs will not be funded is a decision of extraordinary magnitude and entirely contrary to the tenor of the discussions had with TEC officials.

Was it planned to consider existing CoREs in a different way?

The CoRE guidelines state:

Recommendations to the TEC :

As part of the Government’s commitment to supporting collaborative research the CoREs Fund was increased by 10%, bringing the total annual fund to just under $35 million. The 2013/14 CoREs selection round is for operating funding only, and is a fully contestable round.

The CoREs Advisory Committee will recommend to the TEC which proposals it considers should be funded, and the level of funding to award. The TEC Board will make the final decisions and report back to Cabinet after the selection round in 2014 to seek agreement for further operating appropriations for the Centres of Research Excellence, including disinvestment decisions if relevant, prior to announcing the outcomes of the selection round to the sector.

Perhaps there was some expectation that current CoREs would be considered somewhat differently.  Or at least get short listed and their outcome included in the final decision for TEC Board ultimate decision and consultation with Cabinet regarding funding or wind down funds if any. This highlights the issue without considering context and significance of this decision – particularly for Maori and Maori research. Note that TEC has not advised CoREs not short listed, now known to have their funding cease at the end of 2015 whether there is a wind down period or any requirements.  Suggesting it is unplanned/unknown at present.


CoREs were advised initially and formally (to be confirmed communication and medium) from TEC that the CoRE rebid submission process would be from September 2013- March/April 2014 (EOI to full proposal submission).  A decision was then made and concern create that the timeframe then changed to 6 December 2013 for full final proposals – this changing everyone’s strategies and plans.  The reason one understood to be the Minister wishing to make an announcement in June 2014 and prior to election along with other science investments.

This reduced timeframe, took CoREs by some surprise.  Ngā Pae had and has a very busy and full contract, annual programme and thus has to deliver current contracted and planned requirements while submit a proposal under a new tight timeframe.  Did the change in timeframe adversely affect the CoREs, the process and research excellence required and expected?  Ngā Pae missed out, other CoREs did.  What is the quality of those that remain?

The timeframe also pushed the Advisory Committees meetings and decision – there was very short turn around for review and consideration of documents then discussion of these documents and recommendations prior to having to announce the short list (those for site visit).  Was there adequate time to do justice to the process, the applications and consider the right decisions for CoREs in NZ?

Some Additional Questions

  • Short list number – why are there so few applications shortlisted?

Only 8 proposals were short-listed by the Royal Society’s Advisory Committe, yet it was indicated in the guidelines that 10-12 would be short-listed.

It is noted by the Advisory Committee guidelines for CoREs Fund 2013/14, dated October 2013.

“The purpose of this meeting is to review the ~15 applications on the long list provided by the Selection Panels and to generate a short list ~10-12 proposed CoREs for the Advisory Committee to a site visit.” (pg 8)

They do also suggest that only proposals demonstrating research excellence will go forward to the 3rd phase.

 “Research excellence is a first priority; applications will be considered against this criterion and only go forward in the assessment if they meet the threshold for excellence.”  (ibid: pg 2)

It must be asked how research excellence is determined when dealing with ‘new’ CoRE applications  that have not established themselves within this context.

Why did the committee not visit Current CoREs?

Given the significance of the decision not to short list current CoREs, therefore have a site visit and not fund them further, jeopardizing their future and ceasing them as CoREs, why did current CoREs not get a site visit?  This means a decision to terminate 4 CoREs was made, perhaps without consideration of the context, lost investment, potential and huge effort to build and develop the collaborations and processes to get the significant outputs and outcomes the CoREs provide.  The decision was made solely on paper, one written proposal – which was under time pressure and some false understanding of performing well and no major changes expected/wanted.

The Royal Society Advisory Committee guidelines for CoREs Fund 2013/14 state:

March Site Visits

Following the February meeting, the Advisory Committee will conduct site visits to each host institution of the short listed proposed CoREs. These site visits will allow members of the Advisory Committee to ask further questions and raise issues that are not readily addressed in the written proposal. The visits also allow the Committee to assess the suitability of the host organisation’s provision of facilities, and to observe interactions between representatives of both host and partner organisations. Each site visit is anticipated to last for approximately half a day.

This appears to recognise the significance of further questions and information to address matters not included or requested in the application/written proposal.  Thus enabling questions of performance, how issues raised in assessment are addressed or even understood to ensure the correct and robust decision.

Given these are Centres of Research Excellence for Aotearoa, Why does the Scoring criteria include the ability to be funded by an international agency?

It is noted that grading will include if the CoRE would be funded by an International funder. This grading process denies the specific nature of Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga as being a distinctive and unique CoRE that is grounded within Māori research approaches, methodologies and methods.  These are not elements that are understood fully by an assessing panel that has no experience or knowledge of Kaupapa Māori or Māori research approaches.

The Grading system is noted as follows:

Please see page 4 at:

Grading System (Section 2; confidential)

In Section 2 of the report, please provide two grades. This section consists of radio buttons on the online portal. Note that the grades will not be made available to applicants, which is why this scale is included in “confidential” information in Section 2.

Grade A is an overall grade for the proposed research of the CoRE (the first criterion given above).

Please use the following scale:

Grade 1: Outstanding (almost certain to be funded by any international agency)

Grade 2: Excellent (very likely to be funded by any international agency)

Grade 3: Well above average (worthy of funding)

Grade 4: Average (to be funded only if money permits as contains minor flaws)

Grade 5: Below average (unlikely to be funded as contains moderate flaws)

Grade 6: Well below average (would not be funded as contains serious flaws)

Some additional points:

Performance of CoREs

A recent review of current CoREs, highlighted the performance to TEC’s standards.  TEC notes on its website:

Review of CoREs Funding

In 2012 and 2013, the Ministry of Education carried out a review of the CoREs Fund.

The review found that the CoREs policy supports high-quality research in a tertiary context, with positive social and economic benefits to New Zealand.

As a result of the review, a new performance monitoring framework is being developed by the Ministry and the TEC to show the contribution CoREs are making. The framework will provide for how the TEC will monitor each CoRE’s commitments.

More information about the review’s findings can be found at the Ministry of Education’s website.

Funding round advice

TEC also notes on their website:

Funding round : 2013/14 selection round

As part of its commitment to supporting collaborative research, the Government is holding a selection round for CoREs in 2013/14. The 2013 Budget allocation increased the fund by 10%, bringing the total amount of annual funding to just under $35 million. The CoREs funding is for operational costs and operational expenditure only.

The TEC has contracted the Royal Society of New Zealand to establish the necessary processes to provide the TEC with recommendations for funding future CoREs. The Royal Society of New Zealand provided similar support in previous CoREs selection rounds, and is recognised for its independence and understanding of research provision.

The above again highlights, as the Royal Society guidelines did, that the role of the Royal Society was to make recommendations to TEC, not funding decisions.  The non inclusion of Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga in the final round is effective a funding decision.

A note to TEC and Minister Joyce, Minister Sharples and Minister English

There is clear evidence that the process undertaken in the selection of the CoRE applications to move in to the final round and to be considered for funding has been flawed from the beginning.

Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga has not been assessed by its peers.

Other CoRE have had specialists from their disciplines and research areas on the assessment panels.  Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga did not have specialist Māori researchers, whānau, hapū, iwi or Māori research development networks on the panel.   This is sufficient to order a judical review.  However, we submit that Ministers can intervene in ways that enable these issues to be addressed.

We submit to Ministers that:

  1. Intervene and move to have the Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga decision revisited with reinstatement into the final round.
  2. Ministers provide a clear Treaty partnership model through the funding of Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga in this CoRE round to enable Māori development initiatives to continue to develop
  3. Ministers provide within the next five period of CoRE Funding an additional stable, secure financial and resourcing provision for the entrenchment of a National Māori Research Institute that is hosted collaboratively by Māori member entities and which will consolidate the work done by Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga

[1]See file ‘20131021_CoREs_SP_Guidelines’

Taking Action: What you can do to support Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga

Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith

  Opening Statement from Te Wharepora Hou

Over the past week we have posted commentaries from Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith about the decision to not continue the funding for Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga, the National Māori Centre of Research Excellence.  Our reason for supporting and utilising social media to share these commentaries is because we believe that Māori research, and in particular Kaupapa Māori research, has a critical role to play in Māori aspirations for wellbeing and development.  Many research initiatives that have been led through those who spent endless hours of work and struggle to develop Ngā Pae and then through the many research, community, iwi and academic programmes that have come to fruition and been supported by the innovative approaches taken by Ngā Pae.   This the third comment from Professor Smith comes in the form of providing ideas and reflection in terms of how we can voice support for Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga.  Where there is, undoubtedly, much discussion taking place through a range of political processes it is important that those of us who have had direct contact with, and benefit from the projects undertaken since 2002 under the auspices of Ngā Pae are able to have our voices heard.  That is the aim of this comment.

Nā Dr Leonie Pihama & Marama Davidson for Te Wharepora Hou

9781856496247A comment on Taking Action by Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith

Thank you for the support that has been received for the commentaries on Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga. Many of you have been outraged by the news and have been shocked, depressed or angered. I have to admit I went through those emotions too and then I sat back and examined what the larger consequences would be.

As you know I am not one to engage in public commentary, my on-line skills and manners are not well developed, it takes me a long time to write and my work life is just too crazy busy to pause. What has compelled me to do this is that I think it would be a scandalous waste to dismantle Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga, that too much hard work will have gone down the drain, that Māori intellectual potential will be squished, that other related good stuff will be destroyed and that it will set Māori research back 30 years.

I have not spent my career studying the institution of research and what it has taken for Māori and indigenous people to engage in that institution just to sit back and watch a key platform be dismantled.

I also know how hard it is to win funding for research that uses Mātauranga Māori, that employs Māori methodologies and that focuses on Māori development and that is despite the policy of Vision Mātauranga. However it is clear that ‘Vision Mātauranga’ is usually given a once over lightly glance in most research proposals and assessments, and it is also clear that many international reviewers don’t have the knowledge to assess it. Given these critical issues it is nearly impossible for Māori to build an infrastructure.

Many of you are asking what more you can do to assist.  Researchers are generally optimistic and tenacious so I think there are always solutions to be found, or, perhaps it’s just that I am optimistic and tenacious! Your support to convince others to seek those solutions is essential.  Here are a range of ideas for those who wish to show active support.

1. To our international scholars: We need both formal letters of support addressed to the relevant New Zealand Government Ministers of Tertiary Education, Education and Māori Affairs and open comment and postings on line including your reflections on the impact of Ngā Pae on your work and how you see Ngā Pae’s accomplishments and contribution to the wider International Indigenous community.

2. To Māori scholars: Letters of support addressed both to Ministers and to the Tertiary Education Commission is critical for your voice to be heard. You may also be involved as the Māori element in other CoREs which is fine so was I but have no doubt that Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga is the tuakana, the ‘Mothership’ so to speak and has far more experience as an established CoRE.

3. To Social Media experts: Some of you are excellent in the on line environment so I encourage you to use your creative skills. I think the Jumbunna group in Sydney with Professor Larissa Berendt and Jason De Santolo may start some small video testimonies – they are working on something.

4. To our MAI participants, both former and current:  Your voices really matter so it would help to talk about how you finished your studies and where your career is now.

5. To our Iwi and community colleagues who have engaged in collaborations:  It would help to talk about the quality of those engagements and the outcomes of the research as you see it.

6. To our allies and supporters: Your influence matters as well and showing support would demonstrate that Ngā Pae has extended it’s reach and engaged many others in its programmes.

What is important is that we work together to highlight the significant contribution towards Māori wellbeing and Māori Development made by Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga to whānau, hapū, Iwi, Māori Development across all sectors of our society.  The focus on research excellence, on transformative research, on making a difference within Aotearoa, on training and enhancing professional capacity are critical to the wellbeing of this country. Those are things that need to be communicated to those who are making these decisions, and to encourage and motivate them to not only revisit this decision but to reverse it in the best interests of ensuring that research development in this country continues to move in ways that ensure meaningful involvement of all communities, including tangata whenua.

Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Porou)

CNZM BA Dip Tch MA (Hons) PhD Auckland
Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori

Senior Advisor – Te Kotahi Research Institute
Dean – School of Māori and Pacific Development
Professor of Education and Māori Development

The Impact and Contribution of Indigenous Centres of Research Excellence


Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga is the National Institute of Research Excellence for Māori Development and Advancement and is one of seven national Centres of Research Excellence that were selected for funding by the New Zealand Government in 2002 and subsequently, established as an Institute on 1 July 2002.

This Guest Blog continues the commentary begun yesterday by Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith in regards to the decision to not continue funding to the Māori Centre of Research Excellence  ‘Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga. The intention of this piece is to highlight the significance of the impact of an Indigenous Centre of Excellence such as Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga and how it contributes to wider Indigenous Development aspirations both within Aotearoa and internationally.

Commentary Part II: Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga

You may well ask what difference an Indigenous Centre of Research Excellence makes in the larger scheme of research?

New Zealand is just one of several countries that fund different kinds of research groups, programmes, clusters, entities and institutes. They generally do this to accelerate new knowledge, strengthen particular kinds of research, provide concentrated and longer term funding comfort for research of strategic importance, and provide deep focus of intellects on specific research questions. Some are funded from their government science budgets or health budgets. New Zealand CoREs are funded from the Education budget. Science research is funded from the Research, Science and Technology budget. The science budget funds the science challenges and health research.

I have reviewed CoRE proposals for other countries and been an external reviewer of an indigenous institute of health research in Canada. I have also referred international proposals and provided expert advice to funding agencies on indigenous and education research. In my experience and reading most CoREs are science focused but see themselves as multidisciplinary. All are led by the very best researchers in their fields. Most draw on collaborations across institutions. Many have very extensive outreach programmes to schools, communities to international colleagues. Some have developed innovative training programmes that send students to different institutions around the globe. They all build capacity. They all undertake multiple research projects. Many of them foster new research programmes with fledgling entities or NGOs or businesses. They publish a range of resources, they run conferences, they host visiting scholars, they stimulate debate, they advocate, they share practices, they fund scholarships. They produce researchers with skill sets in areas that did not exist before. They provide a deep well of research. Their countries are proud of them.

Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga has worked hard to carry out all those things. Unlike all other similar type entities Ngā Pae has been the only Centre in the world to be focused on the complex issues of Indigenous Development, on exploring the potential of different knowledge systems and paradigms to produce new knowledge, on engaging Indigenous researchers and Indigenous communities in development projects across a spectrum of social, environmental, economic and cultural domains and on creating new capacities in research, in publishing and translation, in institution building, in the application of Indigenous knowledge alongside other methodologies.

Individuals and small groups of indigenous researchers from the Arctic to Latin America, from Africa to Australia and from North America to Aotearoa plug away at this stuff by themselves. Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga scales that up several notches. It reaches and engages researchers across the world. Top and emerging international Indigenous scholars serve alongside Māori researchers on editorial boards, act as journal reviewers, assess the quality of research, review research proposals, attend Ngā Pae conferences, co- supervise Māori doctoral students, mentor Māori post doctoral fellows, collaborate on research projects here and abroad.

There are many Māori researchers across all the universities whose careers have been supported in some way by Ngā Pae through travel and conference grants, through having an article published, through research funding, through conference presentations. Ngā Pae is a collaboration of a broad range of scientists, social scientists, health and education researchers, engineers and architects, arts researchers and development specialists.

Many of the doctoral students who participated in the MAI support programme have gone on to win prestigious grants, have had their work published, and have got established research careers. Many of our researchers owe much to Ngā Pae for their research performance outputs, for the opportunities they have had and for the mentoring and service that senior researchers have provided. Of course not all Māori individual researchers have been involved in Ngā Pae but all universities, two wānanga, one Crown Research Institute and iwi and community based research organisations have been formally involved as participating entities. Open research rounds have facilitated an even wider group of researchers to apply for funding.

So, what difference does Ngā Pae o Te Maramatanga make?

Ngā Pae scales up the efforts that many of us have made in our own little silos to develop Māori research excellence. There are smaller centres of Māori researchers in institutions but Ngā Pae connected them to a national network and enabled them to expand their research. It enabled an inspiring education intervention at the higher education level. It established research programmes that focused on strategic areas of Māori and Indigenous development. It lifted the research performance of researchers. It trained research leaders. It mapped and tracked research capacity. It established innovative collaborations such as with the Fulbright Scheme to expand researcher opportunities. It was beginning to achieve for Māori what New Zealand governments have wanted from research more broadly, a massive joined up network of researchers working purposefully towards improving New Zealand.

So, why would that be deliberately undone? Mmmmm

Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Porou)
CNZM BA Dip Tch MA (Hons) PhD Auckland
Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori
Senior Advisor – Te Kotahi Research Institute
Dean – School of Māori and Pacific Development
Professor of Education and Māori Development

Professor Linda Smith is a leading international authority on indigenous education and health, and is particularly well-known for her book “Decolonising Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples”. She is a member of the Marsden Fund, serves on New Zealand’s Health Research Council, chairing the Māori Health Research Committee, and is past president of the New Zealand Association for Research in Education. She has extensive experience in building Māori and indigenous research capacity, and has helped establish three research institutes – including Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga, New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence. Professor Smith was awarded was awarded Te Tohu Pae Tawhiti, the New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE) Inaugural Award for Research Excellence in Māori Education. She also received the NZARE 1998 Jean Herbison Lecture Award and a Churchill Fellowship in 1991.She has held key positions such as the Deputy Chair of the Council of Te Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, was a member of the Advisory Committee for Official Statistics New Zealand, and a member of the Māori Reference Group for the Tertiary Education Commission. From 2001-2004, she chaired the Māori Tertiary Education Reference Group responsible for advising the Ministry of Education on operational strategy for Māori tertiary education. She has served on many other bodies, including as a member of the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission (TEAC), advising the Minister of Tertiary Education on the shape of the tertiary education system for New Zealand. Professor Smith was a member of the Constitutional Review Panel 2011 -2013 and was awarded the 2012 Dame Joan Metge Medal for excellence and building relationships in the social science research community, for inspiring, mentoring and developing Māori researchers and has been made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2013 New Year Honours for her contribution to Māori Research.

An Open Statement on the true impact of the non-funding of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga

Over the past Imageweek the Māori research, academic and wider Māori community has been dealing with the announcement that the Tertiary Education Commission, through the Royal Society of New Zealand, will not be continuing support for Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga.

Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga is the National Institute of Research Excellence for Māori Development and Advancement and is one of seven national Centres of Research Excellence that were selected for funding by the New Zealand Government in 2002 and subsequently, established as an Institute on 1 July 2002.

 This ‘Open Statement’ has been released by Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith who was a Founding Co-Director of Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga with Professor Michael Walker. Te Wharepora Hou invited Professor Smith to share her response as a Guest Contributor and do so in support of the critical views raised.

An Open Statement on the true impact of the non-funding of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga.

It takes years to develop a research infrastructure. It takes years to develop centres of research excellence. Firstly, it takes an excellent education system as researchers must succeed to the highest qualifications in their fields and new researchers need to be trained continuously.

It takes the right synergies of knowledge as excellent researchers are trained and supported in diverse knowledge cultures.

It takes discipline, perseverance and tolerance as researchers learn as much through failure and elimination as they do from success.

It takes insight to understand the implications of serendipity. It takes difference and determination to carve out new areas of knowledge that challenge current thinking.

It takes a wide community and network of similar minds as researchers learn from each other.

It takes vision and stamina to build novel programmes of research that can address complex and inter-related problems.

It takes a dose of sheer doggedness to forge a research direction when others want to set out to someplace different or to stay put.

It takes an alliance of related systems that review, fund and publish research, that translate it into public knowledge like curriculum, that apply research into other contexts, that produce new or improved practices and products.

It takes collaborations across disciplinary, institutional, national and international boundaries to get the best minds and skills available to advance the research.

It takes institutional support to provide the best working environment for researchers.

It takes institutional and public patience to wait for the next chapter of life changing research.

It takes massive investment by the public through education and by the public and others through the funding of research.

It takes a certain kind of ambition to persist in the pursuit of knowledge that may not yield quick fixes, widgets and gadgets, or social transformation in this generation and it takes a certain kind of society that believes it important to invest in the continuous development of knowledge for its longer term well-being.

In my area of Māori research, it took decades to develop the foundations of a single national research infrastructure. It took decades upon decades for Māori to make their way, one by one, through an education system that was not excellent to gain the highest

It took persistence to survive in knowledge cultures that did not value diversity let alone Māori knowledge.

It took vision to focus on producing a critical mass of Māori with the highest academic qualifications from New Zealand and international institutions.

It took the largest and possibly the most novel and challenging of collaborations to build a strong network of researchers who would focus their minds and efforts on Māori development.

It rounded up all the ‘ones’ and the ‘twos’ of Māori researchers scattered across institutions to create a critical community of researchers who could support new research.

It established journals, created avenues of engagement with the most suspicious of communities, and stimulated intellectual engagements across disciplines, communities, and languages. It supported research that was explicitly focused on creating change, on improving outcomes and on developing

It had to win institutional support by winning funding.

It created novel approaches that other Centres of Excellence borrowed and adapted.

It created new methodologies for exploring social and cultural interfaces that are cited in international journals and applied in many other contexts.

It’s capacity development programme for PhDs is replicated in parts of Canada and the USA at top Higher Education Institutions.
So what tumbles down when Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga is informed it will no longer be funded? A centre? Some funding? Yes of course, but the impact is much greater.

What tumbles down will cut more deeply into the capacity, momentum, community, system of knowledge, networks, relationships, intellectual excitement that was emerging from this Centre of Research Excellence.

What tumbles down is an infrastructure that was built from scratch, from the ones and twos, an infrastructure that had no previous models to borrow from, that was truly internationally innovative, multidisciplinary, that was producing exciting young scholars footing it internationally and in our own communities.

What tumbles down is a national infrastructure that could support Māori development across a range of dimensions that simply can not be provided for by existing institutions.

More importantly what tumbles down is a set of beliefs that the research system is genuinely interested in innovation, has a capacity to recognise or know how to support innovation outside its cultural frame, believes in its own rhetoric or actually understands the short term nature of its investments in research.

Nā Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith



Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Porou)

CNZM BA Dip Tch MA (Hons) PhD Auckland
Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori

Senior Advisor – Te Kotahi Research Institute
Dean – School of Māori and Pacific Development
Professor of Education and Māori Development

 Professor Linda Smith is a leading international authority on Indigenous Education, Research, Kaupapa Māori and Health to name a few key areas.  She  is particularly well-known for the book “Decolonising Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples” which has changed the face of Research within Aotearoa and globally.  She is a member of the Marsden Fund, serves on New Zealand’s Health Research Council, chairing the Māori Health Research Committee, and is past president of the New Zealand Association for Research in Education.  She has extensive experience in building Māori and indigenous research capacity, and has helped establish three research institutes – including Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga, New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence. Professor Smith was awarded was awarded Te Tohu Pae Tawhiti, the New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE) Inaugural Award for Research Excellence in Māori Education. She also received the NZARE 1998 Jean Herbison Lecture Award and a Churchill Fellowship in 1991.She has held key positions such as the Deputy Chair of the Council of Te Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, was a member of the Advisory Committee for Official Statistics New Zealand, and a member of the Māori Reference Group for the Tertiary Education Commission. From 2001-2004, she chaired the Māori Tertiary Education Reference Group responsible for advising the Ministry of Education on operational strategy for Māori tertiary education. She has served on many other bodies, including as a member of the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission (TEAC), advising the Minister of Tertiary Education on the shape of the tertiary education system for New Zealand.  Professor Smith was a member of the Constitutional Review Panel 2011 -2013 and was awarded the 2012 Dame Joan Metge Medal for excellence and building relationships in the social science research community, for inspiring, mentoring and developing Māori researchers and has been made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2013 New Year Honours for her contribution to Māori Research.

The Denial of Maori Research Development

Dr Leonie Pihama
Dr Leonie Pihama

[Note from Te Wharepora Hou: This article reflects the personal views of Dr Leonie Pihama and is endorsed by Te Wharepora Hou.]

This week Iwi and Maori researchers and research organisations received notification that the Maori Centre of Research Excellence (CORE) ‘Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga’ would not be funded in the next round of the National CORE funding.

The Royal Society of New Zealand states:
“The CoREs are inter-institutional research networks, with researchers working together on commonly agreed work programmes. CoREs focus on the development of human capital, so they undertake outreach activities (for example, within the wider education system). CoREs make a contribution to national development and focus on the impact of their research.”

For the 2013/2014 round there are NO Maori CORE’s in the final round for consideration.

There also appear to be no Maori on the selection panels. Well at least no Maori that are identifiable on the Royal Society website. Rather, with the exception of one or two people, the panels consist predominantly of Pakeha and White Australians who have no ability to assess Kaupapa Maori frameworks.

The CORE funding process is facilitated by the Royal Society of New Zealand on behalf of the Tertiary Education Commission who provide a Mission statement for CORE funding which does not include a single mention of Maori. Nor does it include any reference to Te Tiriti o Waitangi or even the lesser government position of the principles of the Treaty. There is no inclusion, no mention, no acknowledgement of anything Maori or Maori aspirations for research.

Maori research needs and aspirations have been made invisible and as of 2015 will no longer feature in the two major research funding mechanisms 1. CORE funds and 2. The National Science challenge funds.

The issue of the ‘white – streaming’ (to borrow a word from Dr Anne Milne) of research and research funds has been a growing issue over the past few years and has now again become entrenched as a fundamental structural and systemic act of racism. And we should be very concerned. Such acts remove the ability of whanau, hapu, iwi, Maori organisations to take control of our research agenda. The marginalisation of Maori needs and aspirations in the research sector is not new, as with Maori education we have fought for every shift in the sector. Research has been an ongoing site of struggle for over 200 years and we should not allow ourselves to go back to an 1800’s model of Pakeha research agenda’s dominating and being lauded over our people.

Much cutting edged Kaupapa Maori work has been inspirational not only to us as Maori but to Indigenous Peoples globally. Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s publication ‘Decolonising Methodologies’ provided insights into the theoretical, methodological, and educational practices that we as a people have created and developed over the past 30 years. It is a motivational piece of work for thousands of people globally. We have much to fight for in terms of the current marginalisation of Maori research in Aotearoa.

Last year the National Science Challenges process led by MBIE also took a position against ensuring specific Maori input and aspirations in the process. Maori researchers were called to a meeting only after challenges were made directly within a hui called by Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga. The meeting at MBIE was a farce. It was last minute. It was opened by the Maori MBIE staff member in a way that was demeaning of those Maori researchers that managed to make their way to Te Whanganui a Tara. We were told not to raise the Treaty as it would not be discussed. We were told that the research themes were set and would not include Maori specific research themes or questions. We were basically told to take what was given and to try to get on to one of the ‘preferred provider universities’ research groups.

As a result of the National Science Challenge meeting Maori researchers have struggled to have Maori research ideas, themes, questions included. In some areas there has been some movement however there is little shift in the majority of the challenges. As such a briefing paper was developed and sent to the Minister of Maori Affairs to be shared with other relevant ministers. There was no movement on the part of Steven Joyce who is – Minister for Economic Development; Minister of Science and Innovation; Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment; Minister for Small Business; Associate Minister of Finance.

Responses to the current situation need to come from a broad range of our communities in Aotearoa. The denial of any form of provision for Te Tiriti o Waitangi within these process means the denial of meaningful Maori involvement in areas that directly impact upon our people. This is not just a research funding issue. This is an issue of our rights as Indigenous People, as Treaty partners to provide research agenda’s, approaches, processes that align to our needs and aspirations.

The recent Maori Party press release related to this issue referred directly to the Briefing Paper and therefore I have included it below for further reference. It is noted that a number of key Maori academics were overseas at the time of adding signatures however they too agreed with the papers overview.

Briefing Paper: National Science Challenges: Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Māori Engagement
In May 2013 the Government announced ten National Science Challenges as a process for undertaking research in what the Minister of Science and Innovation, Steven Joyce, described as “some of the biggest science-based issues and opportunities facing New Zealand.”
The National Science Challenges (NSC) processes are now well underway. However, there have been ongoing concerns raised in relation to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the place of Māori, Māori knowledge and the challenge processes. We are concerned about ongoing arrangements, including planning, assessment, monitoring and accountability under Te Tiriti o Waitangi. These concerns are not only about equitable partnership but also encompass the ability of the challenges to proceed and deliver in ways that are unique to Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga National Science Challenges workshop was held on June 24, 2013, to develop a Māori centred response to the Science Challenges. This meeting reinforced the importance of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and strong concerns were voiced around its invisibility and the overall lack of Māori visibility in the challenge themes and processes. Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga produced a summary of this meeting, including guiding principles.
MASS (Māori Association of Social Scientists) wrote a Briefing Paper outlining concerns over the invisibility of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the processes that had taken place and future steps; this was circulated to the MASS list and received positive feedback and support from MASS executive and members.
Whāia Te Pae Tawhiti – A National Science Challenge Workshop for Māori Researchers, Wellington 18 July 2013
Around 32 people attended the workshop. Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga provided an overview of the workshop they had convened. The MASS briefing paper and position was put forward at the Wellington meeting.
Collective concern was expressed by Māori researchers in attendance that the processes to date had marginalised Māori participation and that the defined Challenge areas and key themes did not reflect key areas of concern for our communities.
The place of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and mātauranga Māori were central foci for discussion. As a result overarching principles and underpinning values were developed at the workshop:

Overarching principles
The National Science Challenges will reflect and embed the following throughout all aspects of the NSC:
• Te Ao Māori, Māori world views, Tikanga, Te Reo
• Te Tiriti O Waitangi
• Mātauranga Māori: Māori Knowledge
• Rangahau orite – Equity
• Rangahau whai hua – Transformative focus
• Kaitiakitanga – Inter-generational custodianship, protection/enhancement of mauri
The full MBIE report from the workshop and other information is available at :

Iwi Leaders forum
A briefing paper outlining these issues was presented to, and endorsed by, the Iwi Leaders’ Forum at the Ngaruawāhia meeting in August 2013.

Challenge update
MBIE now expects the sector to lead the development of proposals, including addressing Māori aspirations, with Requests for Proposals outlining the need to incorporate the Vision Mātauranga Policy Framework, which is the Ministry’s Treaty of Waitangi response.
Requests for Proposals (‘the first tranche’) for 3 challenges were invited in October 2013: Resilience to Nature’s Challenges; High Value Nutrition and The Deep South. Proposals are due 20 December and need to encompass a 10 year research strategy. The involvement of Māori researchers in these processes has been restricted to responding and adding to existing predetermined frameworks. for-proposals/
Further RFPs are expected in early 2014.

Critical Issues
As the National Science Challenge process advances there continue to be critical issues that remain unaddressed by MBIE and research planning teams. A number of Māori researchers have voiced their concerns related to the NSC process to MBIE with little response.
Challenge areas and key themes development have not included any significant Māori input and do not reflect critical issues that face our people.
Māori researchers have indicated the need for clear partnership practices that align with Te Tiriti o Waitangi, however this has been ignored by MBIE. MBIE staff have indicated that there will be no discussion of reframing the challenges in line with Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Issues raised in regards to the findings of WAI 262 and Māori involvement in research across the challenges have not been considered in the processes.
Suggested areas of research and changes related to the Challenge areas and themes provided by Māori researchers at the Meeting in July 2013 have been ignored.
Māori researchers seeking further clarification from MBIE in regards to development Māori research areas, themes and questions have been told that there will be no Māori specific research themes within the Challenges.
Individual Māori researchers on planning groups have advanced a range of suggested changes to approach and content to address the Treaty and to enable Māori research areas to be included, however Māori participants in these processes are expressing a range of concerns about their place and input within the planning groups,
On the whole individual Māori researchers on planning and reference groups have come in to the process in an adhoc manner with no process that adequately addresses Māori concerns expressed across the development and implementation of the challenges.

We ask that the Minister of Māori Affairs and Ministers associated with the National Science Challenges provide guidelines for MBIE, and other agencies involved, to ensure a clear process that ensures the inclusion of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Māori involvement in all aspects of the National Science Challenges.
We recommend that MBIE, in consultation with and in line with the statements from Whāia Te Pae Tawhiti , develop processes and guidelines for developing and assessing proposals, and on-going monitoring of the challenges and their implementation. This will enable a process to address the concerns which persist regarding the place of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and ongoing accountability and engagement.
We recommend that MBIE express a series of principles that apply to the establishment of viable partnership models between Māori and the Crown in the retention and transmission of mātauranga Māori and ensuring Kaupapa Māori approaches within all challenges.
We recommend that MBIE operate under a Treaty relationship that includes Māori and Crown co-ordination, appropriate prioritization, sufficient resourcing, and shared objective setting with Māori are all needed to ensure success. These ‘working principles’ would allow for the practical application of the higher-level principles of good Crown conduct articulated and would include governance arrangements within each challenge team.
We recommend that a National Māori Science Challenge consortium be supported that will have direct input into all aspects of the National Science Challenge processes, and that this consortium develop clear policies, strategies and either directly respond to RFPs or input into supporting Māori research collectives who wish to participate in each of the respective challenges.
We recommend that a Multidisciplinary National Māori Research Network be developed that includes Māori researchers from across whānau, hapū, iwi, communities, universities, wānanga and other institutions that enable engagement across research sectors and the challenges.

This Briefing Paper is submitted and endorsed by:
1. Associate Professor Leonie Pihama
2. Professor Helen Moewaka Barnes
3. Associate Professor Papaarangi Reid
4. Associate Dean Bridget Robson
5. Dr Sarah-Jane Tiakiwai
6. Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith
7. Professor Mason Durie
8. Professor Margaret Mutu
9. Dr Cherryl Smith
10. Piri Sciascia
11. Dr Matire Harwood
12. Dr Amohia Boulton
13. Dr Heather Griffiths
14. Dr Paul Reynolds
15. Adrian Rurawhe
16. Maui Hudson
17. Professor Charles Te Ahukaramu Royal
18. Mereana Selby
19. Ani Mikaere
20. Naida Glavis
21. Associate Professor Merata Kawharu
22. Moe Milne
23. Dr Daniel Hikuroa
24. Dr Beverley Lawton
25. Dr Margie Hohepa
26. Rihi Te Nana
27. Dr Ella Henry
28. Dr Linda Waimarie Nikora
29. Dr Amanda Black
30. Dr Anne-Marie Jackson
31. Angeline Greensill
32. Dr Rauru Kirikiri
33. Dr Elana Curtis
34. Professor Patricia Johnston
35. Professor Paul Tapsell
36. Aroha Te Pareake Mead
37. Associate Professor Hinemoa Elder
38. Linda Te Aho
39. Dr Hemi Whaanga
40. Dr Marilyn Brewin
41. Dr Kepa Morgan
42. Dr Tahu Kukutai
43. Dr Te Kani Kingi
44. Dr Hemi Whaanga
45. Dr Rangi Matamua
46. Taria Tahana
47. Huhana Mason
48. Dr Kathie Irwin
49. Dr Rhys Jones
50. Veronica Tawhai
51. Dr Marama Leigh Muru-Lanning
52. Dr Jenny Lee
53. Dr Anneka Anderson
54. Dr Angela Moewaka Barnes
55. Dr Mera Penehira
56. Dr Shaun Ogilvie
57. Garry Watson
58. Dr Suzanne Pitama
59. Tania Huria
60. Lynaire Doherty
61. Dr Huia Jahnke
62. Dr Cameron Lacey
63. Melanie Mark-Shadbolt
64. Dr Shaun Awatere
65. Garth Harmsworth
66. Arapera Ngaha
67. Dr Brad Coombes
68. Dr Everdina Fuli
69. Dr Jessica Hutchins
70. Meegan Hall