Mixing Māori and mathematics to create new career pathways

By Tumamao Harawira

Pūhoro Charitable Trust and Waikato University have teamed up to provide a programme they hope will inspire Māori students to take new career paths.

They are infusing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education with mātauranga Māori.

The Pūhoro programme aims to work with Māori high school students and ignite their passions in 'STEMM' fields - science, technology, engineering, maths, and mātauranga - by providing an enhanced STEMM learning experience.

"A thousand years ago our tīpuna used science to navigate their way here in what is arguably the most sophisticated story of human migration and human navigation in the history of the world, "Pūhoro director Naomi Manu says.

"It's a mātauranga Māori approach to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics it's more integrated and the integrated STEM learning opportunities within mātauranga Māori that are available to our rangatahi."

Statistics show manufacturing and construction are two of the top industries that employ Māori. Te Taka Keegan, who is a lecturer at Waikato University, says  Māori youth should be looking at other industries that use STEMM as a basis for a career

"Our kids should be studying these types of subjects. It's not that they are useless or that they don't know. People just haven't shown them this type of education."

Raewynn Mahara of Waikato-Tainui says there are ample opportunities that will arise from the academy for her people.

"We are invested in providing opportunities that are long and sustainable for our people."