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Indigenous Science Discourse in the Mainstream: The Case of ‘Mātauranga and Science’ in New Zealand Science Review

From the book Race and Sociocultural Inclusion in Science Communication

  • Ocean Ripeka Mercier and Anne-Marie Jackson


Over two decades, researchers and scientists in Aotearoa New Zealand seeking public funding for their work have been invited to situate their research in relation to Vision Mātauranga (VM) policy. VM recognises that ‘Māori success is New Zealand’s success’, and the policy has been an important driver in indigenising the Aotearoa New Zealand research sector. Sector-wide moves to acknowledge dual knowledge systems mean that researchers are increasingly called upon to communicate science in ways that reference or make space for mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge), but the capacity to do this in the non-Māori science community is uneven. In 2018, the editor of New Zealand Science Review, a peer-reviewed journal of the New Zealand Association of Scientists, sought to address ‘an acknowledged void in the understanding of many in the present research community’ regarding mātauranga Māori and VM policy. Subsequently, between 2019 and 2020, the co-authors worked with New Zealand Science Review to guest edit two special issues, entitled ‘Mātauranga and Science in Practice’. The work of 100 contributors, mostly Māori, across 15 original contributions was published online and print copies widely distributed. Topics spanned multiple disciplines, reflecting the variety and depth of Māori-led research. We sought ways to undo Eurocentric legacies in research publishing through various aspects of our editorial process. This contribution describes this, shining light on how we experienced communication of Indigenous science in this forum but also analysing our process within a new ‘kaupapa Māori knowledge governance framework’. We highlight ongoing European dominance and identify barriers to the epistemic liberation of Māori knowledge in science communication. We simultaneously celebrate Māori advancement in science on the path towards equitable and innovative transformation. We suggest that broader recognition of mātauranga and Indigenous knowledges as governed knowledge systems will militate against token and extractive approaches within science communication.


Māori knowledgekaupapa Māoriscience policyknowledge governancedecolonising science
© Bristol University Press 2023, excluding Chapter 12 © Tibisay Sankatsing Nava, Roxanne-Liana Francisca, Krista T. Oplaat, and Tadzio Bervoets
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