Teachers often ask what Māori content is available on the Science Learning Hub. We have a wide range of resources including articles, teaching and learning activities and videos. The Hub also has a small range of resources that have been translated into te reo Māori.
Kaitiaki are working to restore and protect the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River. Many of the principles apply to other New Zealand rivers too. The resources help students understand that scientists ask questions about our world and that open-mindedness is important.
It’s pretty cool because it’s native to us and something we need to protect and something that we should learn about and we should know. We should know about our history and what it was like back in the Māori days. We should know about our special creatures.Student Emily comments on the benefits of learning about the science of a New Zealand species
Navigating without instruments – introduction
Navigator Jack Thatcher describes his waka hourua voyage from New Zealand to Rapanui (Easter Island) and back. The resources help develop the science capabilities of using evidence to support science ideas and interpreting representations to communicate in science.
Matariki is the Māori name for the star cluster known as the Pleiades. It signals the Māori new year. The article Matariki star cluster provides background information about the stars, the Māori lunar calendar and how to spot the Matariki cluster. Flight mythology explores Māori kitemaking and kite-flying, a popular part of Matariki celebrations. Constellations in the night sky is a literacy activity in which students learn about star constellations and cultural legends.
Students could use this article to examine socio-scientific issues affecting the marine environment (the Nature of Science strand of the curriculum). The article describes how concerns of local iwi about the effects on kaimoana of the oil spill and debris resulting from the Rena grounding (2011) led to effective collaborative research.
Estuaries are productive food gardens. Spiritual and cultural dimensions gave Māori insight into the need to protect and care for their food baskets, as explained in Valuting estuaries. Videos explain the concepts of kaitiakitanga and mātauranga Māori.The activity Estuaries - a Māori perspective uses legend and te reo Māori to explore kaitiakitanga.
This article highlights concerns for iwi living around the Hauraki Gulf about the discovery of tetrodotoxin (TTX) in the grey side-gilled sea slug. It could be used to explore how science ideas are communicated and often link scientific knowledge to everyday decisions and actions (Nature of Science strand).
Mātauranga Māori is a modern term that refers to Māori knowledge and Māori ways of doing things. Discover articles and videos on sea sponges and rongoā, kaitiaki of the kiwi, sea cucumber for export, kauri dieback and ngahere ecosystems, restoration of harakeke and pare.
Students learn about rongoā Māori (medicines that are produced from native plants in New Zealand) using a silent card game. This activity helps develop the science capabilities Using Evidence and Engage with Science as students learn about medical problems that can be solved with native plants.
This article talks about rongoā – the Māori term for medicines that are produced from native plants. Some of these plants and their medicinal properties are identified. Students’ understanding about science as a knowledge system can be developed through discussion of the information from the Rongoā Māori article.
Flight mythology – Māori kites
Early accounts of flight ideas are explored in this article. One of these is the Māori kite – a connector between the Earth and the heavens. Ideas about science are often first depicted in mythology as people sought to explain their observations of the natural world. Discussion of these ideas can build students’ understanding about science as a knowledge system.
Using this activity and the article Middens helps students understand how scientists gather and interpret data and use evidence to develop scientific ideas about how earlier people in New Zealand lived and kept healthy. The activity also allows opportunity to critique the validity of the evidence the students put together, thus incorporating a range of Nature of Science capabilities.
Taewa are traditional potato varieties grown by early Māori settlers in New Zealand. Traditional varieties of taewa have been preserved by Māori and passed down through generations so they’re still available today in their original form. Māori treasure them as a link to their early ancestors. Find out how researchers are now developing unique food products from taewa.
Due to the geographical isolation of New Zealand, pre-European Māori had little contact with neighbouring islands. Trade and commerce were internally based so there was no need for a precise measuring system. However, activities such as wharenui construction, waka making, woodcarving and weaving did require a high degree of precision. This precision was achieved more through the eye of the operator than by reference to a defined standard.
Explore harakeke under the microscope. Use it to learn and practise observation skills.
When Māori first arrived in Aotearoa/New Zealand, they brought with them knowledge of soils. Like all soil scientists, they used observation and experimentation to gather data and develop processes regarding land use. Find out more in this article about how Māori modified soils to promote kumara growth.
Participatory Science Platform projects
Participatory Science Platform projects are collaborative, community projects that bring together local students and scientists or technologists on research investigating a locally-important question or problem. Students at Aorere College helped restore mauri to the Oruarangi Stream after a devastating dye spill. Oruarangi Stream holds special significance to local iwi. Their papakāinga is Auckland’s oldest settlement. This interactive timeline highlights how the students engaged with the nature of science as they investigated and restored the stream.
The tentative nature of science knowledge
Nature of science
To ensure teaching and learning develops students’ Nature of Science capability, identify the aspect they need to develop when planning the unit and select activities and resources that will build this. For example, the Investigating middens activity can be used to build Investigating in Science capability.
This video, Mataurangi Māori in modern day research, is a panel discussion with Dr Daniel Hikuroa, Dr Ocean Mercier, Dr Wayne Ngata and Arapata Hakiwai held in June 2017. They present their perspectives on the place of mātauranga Māori in contemporary research.