Te Kura i Awarua: Māori research centre opens in Ngāti Kahungunu rohe

By Kelvin McDonald
Photo / Supplied

A new research centre, Te Kura i Awarua, has opened in Ngāti Kahungunu rohe at the Hawke’s Bay Campus of EIT Te Pūkenga, the largest tertiary provider in the region.

Te Kura i Awarua - which means ‘the precious objects from Awarua’ - was opened on Tuesday in Napier, with Ngāti Kahungunu executive chair Bayden Barber and mana whenua from Ngāti Pārau among those in attendance at a pōwhiri for the centre opening.

Dr Annemarie Gillies, EIT Professor Rangahau Māori, says the centre is especially significant for Ngāti Kahungunu.

“We don’t have a research centre in Ngāti Kahungunu and this centre is supported by Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi, hapū and whānau, our work will have impact across the region and in our communities,” Professor Gillies said in a statement Saturday.

Professor David Tipene-Leach says Te Kura i Awarua is an important step forward for community research and vital for the development of a strong research environment, as well as a "means to effect real change in Aotearoa".

“We have to start building up Māori capacity to do this work in order to get penetration into communities. We need to know what research communities value and want done and we need to develop more Māori capacity at EIT to do this research," he said.

“It is a critical time to begin building a strong cohort of young Māori researchers applying rangahau across all spheres of society.”

He and Professor Gillies will act as co-directors of the centre, with an advisory board which includes Ngāti Kahungunu executive chair, Barber, and Ngāti Pārau chair, Chad Tareha, the mana whenua hapū for Ōtātara.

Te Kura i Awarua will have a number of important research projects in health, food security, archiving and working with the rich history of hapū and iwi in the region, as well as environmental challenges.