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  • Pprvious position: Scientist, Field: Biochemistry, Organisation: Industrial Research Limited.
    Stephen began working at Industrial Research Limited as a research scientist on the Harakeke Project in 2003.
    Stephen's work on the Harakeke project involved extracting fibre and examining the similarities and differences between different varieties of harakeke (flax).

    It gave me the opportunity to hopefully return some benefits to my own people...

    One of the main attractions of being involved in this project was the combination of scientific knowledge and traditional Māori knowledge. He says: “One of the really important things about the project was that it enabled our people to engage in science.”

    Careers: Combining science with traditional Māori knowledge

    Why did Stephen choose to work in science?

    He was also an Ambassador for Futureintech.

    Stephen is also analysing a fungus called the vegetable caterpillar, or awheto, which has been used traditionally by Māori for food, medicine and to produce tattoo ink. He is hoping to find compounds in the vegetable caterpillar that are associated with its health benefits.

    Listen to this RNZ interivew with Stephen on the vegetable catapillar.

    In this video Rebekah Fuller, describes her research into the role the vegetable caterpillar fungus played in ancient Māori traditions, including its use as ink for creating moko.

    Career Pathway

    Stephen dreamed of becoming a doctor while still in primary school, but as he grew older his interests changed and he decided to pursue a career in science. He also saw a career in science as being a way in which he could benefit Māori.

    Stephen has a Science degree in genetics and microbiology from Massey University and is working towards an Arts degree in Māori Studies and Anthropology.


    Stephen Tauwhare suffered a brain haemorrhage in 2009, for further information, see this news article.

    This article was orginally based on information current in 2007.

      Published 15 November 2007, Updated 10 October 2014 Referencing Hub articles
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