In the fourth of our Horizons of Insight seminars for 2015, and as part of our celebration of Matariki 2015, Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga presents Insights from the Maramataka & Science, with Professor Mike Walker and Dr Pauline Harris.
The Māori lunar calendar – or maramataka – varies across iwi, depending on where they live and their local climate, as well as the availability of edible plants, birds and seafood within their rohe.
This research project’s origins date back 22 years when Dr Joe Te Rito helped establish local Māori radio station Radio Kahungunu in Hastings. Joe saw how the dialect of his iwi Rongomaiwahine-Ngāti Kahungunu was diminishing in quality, in terms of grammatical and spoken fluency, with each generation. The station was to fill the gap for children who did not have Māori spoken in the home or role models to learn te reo from. While schools looked after education, the station wanted to bring the voices into the home.
Minority language speakers are being placed under increasing pressure to use languages that are moredominant, more prestigious, or more widely known. This is particularly so when using internet–based technology. Ironically, minority language groups are increasingly embracing the power of this technology as they struggle to ensure the continued health and survival of their own languages. Māori are no exception. Initiatives involving the Microsoft Corporation, Moodle and Google Inc. have resulted in a range of localised interfaces now available in the Māori language.
The wide variety of cultural and social features among Māori present a formidable challenge to those who seek to understand Māori identity – what ‘it’ is and how ‘it’ may be conceptualised and defined.
The 5 October 2011 grounding of the MV Rena on Otaiti was acknowledged as the worst environmental disaster in New Zealand’s history. The grounding and subsequent pollution had significant environmental impacts that were experienced in anthropogenic terms as impacts upon social, economic, and cultural well-being. The Ministry for the Environment responded with the Rena Long-Term Environmental Recovery Plan launched on 26 January 2012. The plan’s goal is to “restore the mauri of the affected environment to its pre-Rena state”.
Dr Shaun Ogilvie explores new frontiers of knowledge in this seminar by posing a new approach for the relationship between what are often considered to be two distinct bodies of knowledge: mātauranga Māori and applied ecology.