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.”
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.
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.