The mihi (opposite) heralds the beginning of a new era for Scion and acknowledges the special space that is Te Papa Tipu and which has always been at our heart. Our distinctive campus in Rotorua connects us to tangata whenua, the inherent mātauranga of our Māori-Moriori research partners and staff, and the diverse nature of local indigenous ways of thinking and being.
Also, the mihi signals our intent to show leadership as a Crown research institute to advance Māori knowledge and science alongside the traditional keepers. We recognise ancient knowledge as a heritage of cultural, scientific, national and global significance, and ensure it is included as a distinctive knowledge system contributing to Aotearoa New Zealand’s sustainable future.
We are pursuing a holistic view of the contemporary and customary interests of Māori to their forestlands, indigenous species and relative futures that considers plantation pine forests on Maori land, the care and regeneration of trees in ngahere and the potential of new mosaic planted forests and the communities of people that design and care for them. Giving credence to a Māori worldview and approach to forestry in its many forms and broader purposes is the role of the Māori Forestry Futures team.
Our Three Pou
Three pou were forged over the past year for our mana-enhancing Māori strategy, to be launched in the new financial year. The pou are mana whenua at Te Papa Tipu, Māori cultural competency and the Māori forestry roadmap.
Mana whenua at Te Papa Tipu
The unique connection between Scion and Ngāti Taeotu, Ngāti Te Kahu and Ngāti Hurungaterangi hapū was enhanced over the past year through shared residence, in kaupapa related to the Te Papa Tipu Innovation Park campus redesign, specifically:
- Cultural guidance and input into the innovation hub design features and cultural elements;
- Engaging design and carving skills of pou whakairo to be erected along Titokorangi Drive (previously Long Mile Road) in partnership with Rotorua Lakes Council; and
- Working alongside Scion in resource consenting processes, such as the current Storm Water Resource Consent.
An onsite location for a mana whenua representative was offered and taken up part-time to establish a meaningful partnership. Mana whenua leadership at hui, wananga and special events now ensures that tikanga and kawa (protocol) are appropriate. Collaboration over managing other onsite tenant relationships also reached a good outcome. As the relationship continues to evolve we expect increased levels of whakawhanaungatanga, opportunity sharing and participation among the campus community.
Māori cultural competency
Scion’s work has the potential to transform and improve the future treatment of our lands, waters and air, and the lives of all people visiting, living, and working in New Zealand. As we move towards the vision we pursue with our partners and stakeholders, the future will see us carrying out even more research, science and innovation in communities, on Māori-Moriori land, with indigenous trees and other forms of life from the natural world.
It is crucial that we keep all our staff culturally safe, equip them for quality engagement and demonstrate our commitment to working in a quality way with tangata whenua. They also need to have experiences affirming that working with matauranga and Māori-Moriori can be a personally rewarding and expansive experience.
2019 Innovator of the Year Ian Taylor was invited to talk with staff during Māori Language Week. This talk was one of many cultural interactions that inspired staff to take up He Waka Eke Noa – Scion Te Reo 101 professional development course delivered onsite. Ian shared his story from childhood to the success of the team at Animation Research Limited and his work with the Tuia 250 project. Ian’s key messages were the value of mātauranga Māori knowledge, the intersection of science, creativity and mātauranga, being bold in the face of uncertainty and embracing innovation storytelling.
A cultural competency needs assessment initiated a matrix of training, and 135 staff participated in these training modules. Scion’s own waiata Te Papa Tipu E sharing the Scion kaupapa was composed by staff.
Māori forestry roadmap – tomorrow’s forestry
Evidence shows that a global circular bioeconomy aligns strongly with Te Ao Māori. Pre-Treaty land use and practice used knowledge that had developed with te Taiao, the systems of land and sky, for more than 700 years. Established to set a future pathway for Māori forestry, the overarching aim of the Māori Forestry Roadmap is to contribute to the processes and practices of a globally unique transition towards a future bioeconomy, championing customary kaitiakitanga practice in a whole-of-systems approach inside the primary sector, with Māori forestry leadership.
The roadmap looks at what it will take to: expand exotic forestry, indigenous forestry and wood manufacturing pathways; build new forestry models to optimise Māori land; and conceptualise and revitalise a Māori Bioeconomy by 2030.