Calls for Pūhoro STEM funding to continue

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

The Principal of a South Auckland Wharekura says the government must continue to fund the Māori Science Pūhoro programme.

Maahia Nathan says Māori students have an aptitude in the STEM subjects and need to be supported to succeed.  

The Principal of Te Wharekura o Manurewa says fostering our future scientists has become that much harder without government funding.

“They must not cut funding,” says Nathan.

“The Pūhoro programme is successful and funding needs to approriately support that, we are seeing the benefits.”

The MoE no longer has funding for Massey University's Pūhoro STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Academy that began two years ago, to guide Māori students into scientific tertiary study and career pathways.

“It's the only Māori education programme that offers STEM subjects and we need to have that, we need to have young Māori educated in STEM areas,” says National Māori Education spokesperson Jo Hayes,.

“It's really important for their future.”

Te Wharekura o Manurewa students have created a tool that addresses the water quality of the Puhinui estuary that runs behind their school into the Manukau Harbour.

“We are seeing the benefits, the understanding of the students has widened,” says Nathan.

“They know that the water the flows in the estuary is not just water, its polluted water affecting the well-being of the harbour.”

Latest NCEA results show Pūhoro students pass rates have surpassed national averages, for example in chemistry 87% compared to 67% non-Māori and 62% Māori.

Nathan says this validates why funding should remain

“The funding should increase because we are seeing the outstanding NCEA results,” he said.

Nathan says some of their students have been selected to continue science studies at Auckland University and AUT.