Associate Prof Merata Kawharu, a senior researcher at the
University of Otago and Auckland University, has gained a
$470,000 grant to pursue research involving Maori heritage.
Prof Kawharu, a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit and
former Rhodes Scholar, was ''very happy'' to receive the
grant, from Nga Pae o te Maramatanaga.
Nga Pae o te Maramatanga (''horizons of insight'') is New
Zealand's indigenous Centre of Research Excellence, funded by
the Tertiary Education Commission and hosted by Auckland
The grant was one of several recently announced by the
Prof Kawharu, who is director of research at the James Henare
Maori Research Centre at Auckland University and an associate
professor of research at Otago, said the funding would have a
''very positive'' effect.
It would also ''support the development of emerging Maori
scholarship'', through a postgraduate grant.
She is principal investigator in the project ''Waka Wairua:
Landscape heritage and the creative potential of Maori
Centre officials said the research would ''unravel heritage
threads and leadership principles'' connecting New Zealand
Narratives would also be explored involving ''entrepreneurial
leaders, including the early navigators who travelled between
Tahiti, Rarotonga and New Zealand''. The project will also
examine ''outstanding Maori heritage landscapes'' in New
Zealand and aimed to ''acquire and collate orally held
knowledge from community leaders from across New Zealand and
the Pacific'', including Tahiti and Rarotonga.
Prof Kawharu, an Auckland graduate who also has a DPhil in
social anthropology from Oxford University, said she was
''part of a team of people'' who had for some years been
aiming to ''progress this project''.
Researchers would film and record narratives in Ra'iatea - an
island in French Polynesia- as well as in Rarotonga and New
Zealand, and the knowledge would be made ''accessible to
those communities'', she said.
''The grant will enable us to do this.''