New uni department opens in January

The rise of Matariki has brought with it the launch of a new department at the University of Otago — the Centre of Indigenous Science.

It officially opens on January 1 next year, but over the next six months, Maori academic Associate Prof Anne-Marie Jackson will be leading the development of its teaching and research aspirations.

"The Centre of Indigenous Science will be one of the first of its kind in Aotearoa, so this is an opportunity to continue to grow an academic department and scholarship based on nga kaupapa Maori in sciences," she said.

"We will take this time to reach out to our whanau, hapu, iwi, to our communities and networks and bring together the philosophical understanding and underpinnings of Indigenous Science."

University of Otago law lecturer and former Nga Pae o te Maramatanga co-director Prof Jacinta Ruru said the creation of the centre was exciting, especially for future students and the modern New Zealand workforce.

"Otago will be soon graduating students who have a deeper understanding of matauranga Maori. They will be of enormous service to iwi, hapu and whanau, and to our nation.

Prof Jackson was one of the first 500 Maori doctoral scholars to graduate through the Nga Pae o te Maramatanga vision, and she also co-leads the national Centre of Research Excellence, Coastal People: Southern Skies.

She said the new centre would be a place for students to be nurtured and supported to contribute to their communities, Maori research and the world.

The centre will be located within the division of sciences.