Māori Fulbright scholar to share unique Mauri Model Framework with US

By Kimiora Kaire-Melbourne

Dr Te Kīpa Kēpa Brian Morgan (Ngāti Pikiao, Te Arawa) from the University of Auckland is the 2016 recipient of the Fulbright-Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Scholar Award, valued at up to US$37,500. The award will enable Morgan to conduct research at a number of US institutions.

Morgan graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering in 1986 and was awarded his PhD in 2008. The principal outcome of his PhD is the Mauri Model Decision Making Framework, which was nominated for best doctoral thesis in 2009.

Morgan says, “The framework was created to address the inconsistencies between engineering decision making and our tikanga and kawa. And that was becoming obvious in a lot of engineering projects, especially those that were opposed under the Waitangi Tribunal claims process.  So there was the Kaituna claim that stopped waste water discharge into the Kaituna River.  There were other claims like the Manukau claim, which objected to the discharge of treated waste water into the Manukau Harbour.  In all of those cases, the iwi and hapū that were challenging the engineering approaches did so on the basis of cultural offence caused by the impact upon mauri.  So the intention of the framework is to make it clear to engineers and scientists the impacts that different projects or decisions that they make will have upon mauri.”

Morgan will be undertaking research at the University of Hawai’i, the University of Arizona and Colorado School of Mines, where he will be continuing his ongoing research into the Mauri Model Decision Making Framework and its application to Indigenous peoples.

“I’m sitting in an office at the University of Hawai'i right now and we’re here for 2 months. Then we’re travelling to Colorado to the Colorado school of Mines in Golden. While we’re there we’re going to assist with integrating the Mauri Model into their teaching programme around social justice and ethics.  And after that we’re going to Tucson, Arizona where I’m working with the American Indian Studies Department and we’ll be looking at how the Mauri Model can be used to understand the impacts of extractive industries that are incredibly disruptive to the ecosystems that American Indian and First Nation Peoples are living in,” says Morgan.

Morgan hopes the Fulbright – Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Scholar Award will help his Mauri Model to be recognised and widely accepted both nationally and internationally.

He says, “What I’m hoping is that, in sharing the Mauri Model internationally, there will be wider uptake and through that wider uptake, the standing of the Mauri Model in Aotearoa will be enhanced. It's already quite widely accepted but there are people that will be reluctant to acknowledge it until they see that it's been used in an international setting.”

Morgan will be in the US for four and a half months and is dues to fly back to Aotearoa on November 14. 

For more information on his work, visit the mauri meter website here.