Award-winning Maōri astronomer calls out racism in western science industry

By Kereama Wright

Dr Rangi Mātāmua (Tūhoe) is a professor in Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao - the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies at the University of Waikato.

His work illustrates the ways empirical science has always been a part of traditional Māori knowledge systems. 

Through his study of Māori astronomy he examines Māori scientific knowledge associated with the cosmos.

Now he has been awarded the 2020 Callaghan Medal for an outstanding contribution to science or technology communication. He received the prestigious medal for his pioneering work in Māori astronomy that has engaged the public in the interface between western science and mātauranga Māori.

But he says, along the way, he has experienced racism from his mainstream colleagues.