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    Rights: University of Waikato
    Published 28 June 2018 Referencing Hub media

    Victoria Campbell and Tiahuia Kawe-Small from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ōtepoti attribute the success of the Ahi Pepe MothNet project to collaboration and the blending of mātauranga Māori and science. The collaborative aspect means that both mātauranga Māori and traditional science protocols are upheld and followed. 

    This video touches on several aspects of the nature of science:

    • People from all cultures contribute to science.
    • Science is part of social and cultural traditions.
    • There is no one way to do science – no step-by-step scientific method.
    • Collaboration is common in science investigations due to the wide range of science knowledge.



    Fantastic, there are moths! Yay!


    The point of difference for this project has been Barbara and the fact that she has come into the kura, has recognised that she has a skillset and that our tamariki and our whānau and our staff have a skillset and that our common ground that we’re meeting on is our passion for education, for learning, and that she has been so supportive and driven things for the goal of science, but to ensure that nothing is compromised in the process. And when I say nothing, I mean a perspective from a scientific Western viewpoint or from a mātauranga Māori viewpoint. I’ve worked with a lot of people in the past on projects, and this is the first time that we’ve really had an advocate and a champion for blending in a way that is for the benefit of all of the people involved.


    And then we want to know the number of ka momo (the species).


    We have critical key components to making something successful. We have access to language experts, we have access to science experts, and then we have this sanctuary where we can test and experiment everything that we’re learning. And we roll that into a nice little ball, and we’ve got a collaboration. What I’m used to as an educator is there is no collaboration – we just get this is how it is, this is how we’re going to do it and very little opportunity to put the cultural lens on, whereas with Ahi Pepe MothNet, we’ve got a collaboration. We’ve got a robust way of working, a way of solving issues that might be a challenge of tikanga.

    Kaitiakitanga is the overarching concept that we teach the tamariki, and it’s not maths per se through those strands, it’s well how does maths fit in this? How can we reflect what we’ve just learned through waiata, through creating pao, karakia and just writing about our science activities today? So there are a whole lot of elements.

    Do our students see themselves as scientists? I see them as scientists in the lens of the culture that we bring to kaitiakitanga, our stewardship over our whenua, over our land. I see them when they’re working in nature that, you know, you’re questioning, you’re problem solving, you’re identifying, you’re classifying. They don’t see that as science per se, this is their big view picture of kaitiakitanga. So they are scientists, they just don’t label themselves as scientists.

    Victoria Campbell
    Tiahuia Kawe-Small
    Dr Barbara Anderson
    Dr Robert Hoare
    Tahu Mackenzie
    The tamariki of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ōtepoti
    Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research
    Orokonui Ecosanctuary