Laura Goodall

He kaiwhakamāori pūtaiao a Laura. E ako ana ia Te Reo Māori me tikanga ki TWoA. Laura tells stories about science in a way that tries to make it understandable and relevant to ordinary people. Her background is in science, communications and Indigenous Peoples' perspectives - and in 2016 she studied Māori Science at VUW. She is now storyteller for Curious Minds ( and continuing her journey in Te Reo Māori and Tikanga Māori. You can find her on Twitter: @lauragoodall

Mātauranga Māori and kererū conservation - Mātau Taiao

Aug 18, 2016

Letting people harvest New Zealand’s protected wood pigeon can create a win-win outcome for all, says conservationist Len Gillman. Len Gillman For centuries, Māori carefully managed and harvested kererū as an important food source. As kaitiaki (environmental guardians), communities will place a rāhui (temporary ban) on specific animals or plants if numbers get too low, to allow them to recover. This mātauranga Māori (indigenous knowledge) dates back to well before conservation existed as a field of science. Yet Māori can no longer do this for kererū, as they – and others – have been banned altogether from hunting the bird. There is a long history of disagreements between Māori and Europeans over kererū*. In the 1880s, they clashed over hunting season times because Māori needed to harvest fattened winter kererū for food, but Europeans wanted to hunt leaner, faster birds in early autumn as a challenging sport. Eventually the Government rolled out a complete hunting ban on most … Read More

Disruptive thinking: rocket fuel for Māori innovation - Mātau Taiao

Jul 06, 2016

Dr Lance O’Sullivan was kicked out of school for disruptive behaviour. Twice. Now the award-winning Māori doctor has created another kind of disruption – an ambitious new health app that aims to speed up diagnosis and treatment times for common childhood illnesses. Māori innovation is skyrocketing.  The June 2016 statistics say it all: Māori innovation reached almost 65 percent in 2015 while the rest of New Zealand slumbered at less than 50 percent. Statistics can’t tell us what is actually driving this booming trend, though. That’s a job for Matariki X – an inspiring annual event that brings together leading Māori entrepreneurs from around the country to share how and why they are so innovative and successful in what they do. This year, Matariki X was held in Rotorua, where 14 speakers from a broad range of businesses … Read More

Deciphering Matariki: science lessons from star lore - Mātau Taiao

Jun 09, 2016

For astronomy researcher Dr Rangi Matamua, traditional Māori star knowledge and Western science are not enemies but allies. His latest project uses historic star lore to shed light on modern environmental issues – and is also a deeply personal quest that began with a dying grandfather’s wish. Rangi Matamua Rangi Matamua’s path is literally written in the stars. Rangi (Ngai Tūhoe) is from Ruatāhuna and Waikaremoana and descends from at least two generations of tohunga kōkōrangi – astronomical experts. A pivotal point in his life was when his dying grandfather asked him to look after a very precious book that his great-grandfather had started writing in 1898. The 400-page manuscript contained the Tūhoe names and knowledge of over a thousand stars, planets and objects in the sky. Star knowledge is tapu (sacred) and in Rangi’s grandfather’s time it was seen as … Read More

Health and science stars shine for Matariki Awards - Mātau Taiao

Jun 08, 2016

Talented Māori professionals behind Indigenous disabilities research, space flight and a fitness-focused health initiative are finalists for the 2016 Matariki Awards. The inaugural annual event, which celebrates extraordinary Māori talent across a broad range of fields and industries, is presented by Māori Television and Te Puni Kōkiri and pays homage to the seven stars of Matariki with seven award categories. One is the Te Tupu-a-Rangi Award for Health & Science. Among the finalists are AUT Senior Lecturer Dr Huhana Hickey, NASA engineer Mana Vautier and IronMāori co-founders Heather Te Au-Skipworth and Missy Mackay. All the Matariki Awards winners will be announced on Sunday June 26 at 8:30pm and aired as a special 90 minute live broadcast on Māori Television. Huhana Hickey Huhana Hickey Dr Huhana Hickey (Ngāti Tahinga, Tainui, Ngai Tai)  – who goes by ‘Dr Hu’ – is a research fellow in Taupua Waiora Centre … Read More

Powering potential in young Māori - Mātau Taiao

May 19, 2016

Teachers have been shown to underestimate Māori children’s academic capabilities, which their achievements end up reflecting. But Pūhoro, a forward-thinking science academy, has now been set up to support Māori youth in reaching their true potential. Naomi Manu and Mana Vautier give us the lowdown. One thing that people really don’t like to talk about is prejudice. But we all have it. We’re just not aware of it. Researcher Carla Houkamau (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou) talked about this hidden prejudice, or ‘unconscious bias’, at the Māori Public Health Symposium in Wellington earlier this month: “Most of us are consciously really positive towards other people, but unconsciously we make snap judgements that can have a big influence in how we do things. “Unconscious biases do not equal bad people. We just need to learn to think slower to overcome them.” Carla’s research … Read More

Reshaping the mould for Māori obesity research - Mātau Taiao

Apr 29, 2016

What has the Māori word for ‘chieftainship’ got to do with a team of scientists looking at obesity in Northland? Answer: the researchers broke the scientific mould by putting the Māori communities — not scientists — in the leading role. Researcher Ricky Bell tells us how they did it. Rangatiratanga is a powerful word.  It’s loosely translated to mean chieftainship, authority, leadership.  But it is so much more than that, especially with its history. In 1840, Māori chiefs from across Aotearoa signed the British Crown’s Treaty of Waitangi in good faith.   However the chiefs didn’t know that the Māori version had the word rangatiratanga in place of the word ‘possession’ in the English version. This meant that Māori understood they had full sovereignty over their lands, living spaces and treasures, not merely possession.*  Unsurprisingly, this ‘mistranslation’ contributed to a … Read More

Eyes wide shut? A different view of knowledge - Mātau Taiao

Apr 07, 2016

Scientific and Indigenous ways of thinking differ in how they view where knowledge comes from. Many experiments strip the environment away from a piece of knowledge to see if it still holds true. Yet indigenous knowledge has deep links to its origins and can become ‘lost in translation’ without context. This is something that scientifically-trained people can struggle to get their head around at first. Kennedy Warne, co-founder of New Zealand Geographic and author of Tūhoe: Portrait of a Nation, started his writing and photography career with a Masters in Marine Biology. In E-Tangata, he has written a reflective piece on how the cultural sleep was rubbed from his eyes. A story in which he recalls how it took a connection with Ngāti Kuri kuia (elder) Saana Murray to get his first glimpse into the importance of context in Māori knowledge. With kind permission (tēnā rawa atu koe, Kennedy), I’ve posted … Read More

Weaving knowledge to see the big picture - Mātau Taiao

Mar 23, 2016

Understanding holistically how the world works and our role in it helps us to make sustainable, long-term decisions. Many scientists work in a narrow field of research so need to collaborate across different disciplines to see the big picture. Yet indigenous knowledge is often overlooked. Dr Dan Hikuroa (Ngāti Maniapoto, Tainui, Te Arawa) is a specialist in Earth system science and integrating Māori indigenous knowledge and science. He is currently Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Auckland, Principal Investigator at Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga and Associate Investigator at Te Pūnaha Matatini. Since starting university as a geologist more than 20 years ago, Dan has been involved in many scientific projects, ranging from leading a geological expedition in Antarctica to co-writing the 2014 State of the Hauraki Gulf Environment Report.  Here, he shares some aspects of his … Read More

Project Mātauranga: indigenous knowledge and science in action - Mātau Taiao

Mar 08, 2016

A good starting place for better understanding Mātauranga Māori in the scientific world, is to watch an episode or two from Māori TV’s Project Mātauranga. Project Mātauranga is a television series that celebrates Māori innovation in the science sector. There are thirteen episodes that show how Western Science and Māori knowledge systems are combining to provide solutions to problems. Presented by Dr Ocean Mercier, Pukenga Matua/Senior Lecturer at Victoria University, each episode investigates Māori worldviews and methodologies within the scientific community and looks at their practical application. “Maori have always been scientists. Science has allowed Māori to live, work and thrive in the world for hundreds of years,” Ocean says. Project Mātauranga is a good few years old but holds its value. In fact, it’s just been relaunched by the Science Learning Hub this year, who have accompanied each video with extra written information for reference.   … Read More

Protecting New Zealand’s natural treasures - Mātau Taiao

Feb 27, 2016

Tangata Whenua — People of the Land — is the name that Māori call themselves as indigenous New Zealanders, and likely signifies the deep roots they have to this green and blue place of jagged peaks and valleys.  The land sustains us. It carries paths to the future as well as ties to the past: whatungarongaro te tangata, toitū te whenua – people disappear, but the land remains.  But what shape will it be in when we’re gone?   For Māori, the importance of kaitiakitanga (loosely translated as ‘guardianship’) is told to each new generation, to ensure that they too become kaitiaki.  And after 800 years of kaitiakitanga, Māori communities likely have the most complete knowledge of our land and its native inhabitants. Dr Amanda Black (Tūhoe, Whakatōhea, Te Whānau-a-Apanui) plays a role in recognising this knowledge as co-kaihautū (co-leader) of a Māori-focused … Read More