A New Zealand university surrenders to indigenous “ways of knowing”

February 18, 2022 • 12:45 pm

I’ve talked a lot on this site about Mātauranga Māori (“MM”), the mixture of indigenous legend, practical knowledge, superstition, theology, and morality that is suddenly about to be injected into New Zealand science classes (both secondary school and college), with the intent of teaching it as a “way of knowing’ coequal with science. Because it’s ideologically incorrect to say anything against the founding population, I get a lot of letters from disaffected Kiwis who abhor the anti-progressive trend of making modern science coequal with a lot of ancient superstition. (I repeat once again that MM should certainly be taught in school sociology, history, and anthropology classes, but only the small bit of practical knowledge that MM comprises deserves a place in science.)

Anyway, I got hold of the future plans of one university, the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand, which confirms the vow that two of its administrators recently took:: to make the whole university into an institution to teach MM and promulgate Maori “ways of knowing”. It is the wokest University of any school I know, for it has vowed that its mission is to adhere completely to the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi: a document guaranteeing rights to the Māori, But that’s not Waikato’s only goal: it’s not just equality or even equity this university wants, but to convert itself into a kind of academic iwi, a Māori group or tribe.  Whatever its plans call for—and I have three planning documents—they’re not calling for building a real university. in the way we know it The university is to be decolonized and turned into an iwi, valorizing and teaching all things Māori.

First, here’s main strategy document for the next two years, which you can get as a pdf by clicking on the image:

This document isn’t as hard-nosed as the other two I’ll mention, but MM is a big part of it. A few goals (all bolding that isn’t italicized is mine):

Strategic priorities

1.) Embed mātauranga Māori into teaching, learning and the curriculum.

Number one!

From “Taskforce Objectives”:

Strategic priorities

2. Ensure that academic appointment, advancement and promotion processes require staff to reflect on their engagement with mātauranga Māori, as well as recognising the wider knowledge and contribution that Māori and Pacific staff provide to scholarship at the University. . .

5). Provide support and opportunities for staff to engage with matauranga Māori within their areas of academic expertise, and to ensure that matauranga Māori is embedded as part of the curriculum.

This ideological/political/religious basis for promotion, appointment, and advancement is explicitly forbidden in places like The University of Chicago. All that matters, according to our Shils report, is research, teaching (including supervising grad students), service, and contributing to the intellectual community. Any considerations of gender, race, ideology, ethnicity, and religion are forbidden.

And the last paragraph:

The success of initiatives to recruit new and retain existing Māori and Pacific academic staff will determine our ability to provide appropriate leadership for the integration of Mātauranga Māori and traditional Pacific knowledge into the curriculum and our research programmes.

There’s a lot of embedding planned, but I must that 32% of students at this school are of Māori descent, the highest proportion of that ethnic group in any New Zealand university. But make no mistake: all NZ are going this route. The question is whether the curriculum must cater to the “way of knowing” of the ethnic group that is so prevalent, and to be infused into the science curriculum. Two-thirds of the students, after all, are not Māori.

Here’s the second document, the “research plan”. Click to read it:

Here’s their main research objective (emphasis is mine except for the bits in italics)

OBJECTIVE 1- INCREASE RECOGNITION, INTERNALLY AND EXTERNALLY, OF OUR WORLD-CLASS SCHOLARSHIP THAT REFLECTS OUR PLACE IN THE WORLD, AND IN TE AO MĀORI, AND GROW THE NEXT GENERATION OF RESEARCHERS RECOGNISED FOR THEIR ABILITY TO CREATE SUSTAINABLE FUTURES THROUGH LOCAL AND GLOBAL LEADERSHIP.

Scholarly excellence rooted in deep disciplinary expertise is the foundation upon which our research reputation rests. World-class scholarship means the excellence of our research is internationally-recognised and benchmarked. This does not mean the University’s research endeavours are only for the rest of the world, but must reflect our setting, our region, and our country, blending the perspectives of tangata whenua and tangata te Tiriti, as well as Pacific approaches and methodologies. Our unique opportunity, as we engage with the work-programme of the 2021 Taskforce, is to embed mātauranga throughout our researcher’s capabilities, treasure the input of Pacific knowledge systems, and celebrate the synergy with other approaches to science and knowledge generation. Recognising this opportunity, and working with it, will enable our research excellence to shine through.

. . . What will the University do to achieve this objective?

• Establish a process to identify and develop researcher capacity and capability in mātauranga Māori, and in Pacific research methodologies.

• Recognise a broader definition of excellence in our suite of annual research awards.

• Further develop specialist mātauranga competency among the professional staff supporting research, to deliver excellence in mātauranga.

. . . Pou Whaitake – Relevance operates at differing geographical scales: local, regional, national and international, and it encompasses our place in the world. Relevance means that mātauranga Māori, and Pacific knowledge systems cannot be separate from other approaches and methodologies, because we will benefit most when all are woven together to create synergy and space for all.

The above paragraph sounds good, but what does it really mean. How is one suppose to weave together the search for dark matter, or the nature of sexual selection, with MM? These are concepts developed outside that paradigm.

 . .We are committed to implementing the recommendations of the Taskforce Report (2021) and to become an institution that rejects casual and systemic racism, honours Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and values mātauranga Māori. University-based research has evolved over centuries in the traditions of Natural Philosophy, as such we cannot simply “bolt on” Māori and Pacific knowledge systems and hope to gain value, whereas if we deliberately make space for mātauranga and Pacific approaches we can add depth and meaning to our research endeavours. As such, mātauranga Māori will be woven throughout the four pou of excellence, impact, relevance and resilience; and is an integral part of all five objectives in this Plan.

Once again the Treaty (“Te Tiriti”) and MM are virtually worshipped, and will be made ubiquitous. They’re not just “bolted on” to education, either, they are woven throughout every aspect of education.

This university aspires to world-class excellence, but seems to think that embedding MM throughout the school will “enable [their] research excellence to shine through.” It won’t because world-class research is beyond MM itself, though of course perfectly capable of being done by Māori. What is happening is that the University is cosseting its Māori students in an ethnic cocoon at the expense of their education. They’ll know a lot of MM, which they probably know already, but won’t be exposed to “non-Pacific knowledge systems” and therefore won’t acquire a parochial education.  Now I’m not sure what balance needs to be struck between MM and “Western” or “Crown” knowledge, but you don’t see these research plans calling for the students to be exposed to the classics, to modern science, or much of the humanities. If you read this poorly written document, you’ll see it’s all about “achieving research excellence,” but it’s really obsessed with measuring research excellence. There’s a lot of talk of aspirations, but no concrete plan to realize those aspirations beyond infusing everything with MM.

Finally, here’s the Academic Plan (click on screenshot):

He Timatanga / Introduction

In recognising the importance of Te Tiriti o Waitangi / The Treaty of Waitangi and emābracing our motto Ko Te Tangata / For the People, diversity, equity and inclusion figure prominently in this Academic Plan. Teaching for diversity means acknowledging and working with all students’ lived experiences. Equitable teaching and learning is available to all, is fair and just. Inclusive teaching and learning happen in environments where everyone feels a sense of belonging, that are equally accessible for all, and are welcoming for all.’ In addition, the Plan acknowledges the important role that Māori, and also Pacific learners, teachers or educators, families and communities play in enhancing the mana of the University of Waikato. Pacific peoples have a rich history and tradition of knowledge and learning which the University is keen to harness in order to ensure our Pacific students flourish and excel.

Once again homage is paid to the principles of the 1840 Treaty, which says nothing about what is to be taught in schools. It’s being interpreted to mean “Māori principles will dominate and guide education at this university.”

And the PRIMARY academic objective:

OBJECTIVE 1 – EMBED MĀTAURANGA MĀORI INTO TEACHING AND LEARNING

I won’t translate this for you except to say that Aotearoa is the Māori word for “New Zealand”:

The University of Waikato, in committing to implementing recommendations in the Report of the Taskforce to become an institution that genuinely honours Te Tiriti o Waitangi, is not systematically or casually racist and that values mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge and Māori ways of knowing), has an opportunity to lead the way in this. Truly transforming our teaching, learning and curriculum in this manner will benefit tangata whenua as well as all students and staff, making the University of Waikato a welcoming, inclusive, forward-thinking, place to study and work. Tangata whenua as kaitiaki and as key educators are helping bring about greater cultural and environmental awareness. Some of our papers and programmes at Waikato already fully embed within them notions of kaitiaki and mātauranga. We all, however, need to commit to inspiring and supporting students to be guardians of our precious resources which will also help us advance the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. One of the principal outcomes recommended by the Report of the Taskforce is: “All staff and students enjoy enhanced academic experiences and results from the embedding of mātauranga Māori through existing teaching and research approaches”. Over the past few years, there has emerged within Aotearoa New Zealand’s universities and other research organisations a wider appreciation and integration of the important role mātauranga Māori plays in regards to understanding the world around us. This ought, where possible, to extend to teaching, learning – what we teach and how we teach it. This includes assessment because as the Report of the Taskforce (p. 29) notes, it is important to: “Establish alternative forms of assessment in addition to, alongside, or in place of written forms of assessment where suitable and effective (e.g. oral, creative practice)”.

And this is how they will do it:

What will the University do to achieve this objective?

• Develop and begin to implement professional development for all staff on Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Begin work on establishing exactly what a mātauranga Māori approach to teaching, learning and curriculum might look like in different disciplines. In some subjects this work is well established, in others it is underway, in still others it is yet to begin. In reality, it is likely that mātauranga Māori will be more challenging to implement in some subjects than in others but conversations need to begin and steps taken towards this enhanced academic experience

Develop and begin to implement professional development for colleagues on the principles and practices of mātauranga Māori in relation to teaching and learning

Review ‘Cultural Perspectives’ papers to ensure the criteria and learning outcomes remain relevant and are achievable and to consider the relationship between existing Cultural Perspectives papers and future papers that will adopt or engage with a mātauranga Māori approach

Note that some subjects may be harder to “make over” with MM than others (try quantum mechanics or evolutionary biology, for instance) but made over they will be.

To enter into New Zealand secondary or tertiary education is to go down a rabbit hole where all values are upturned to adhere to the Treaty and to MM. If universities do this, so thinks their administrations as well as the Ardern government, they will take its place among the great educational institutions of the world. But everybody know that’s not true. In fact, secondary education in New Zealand has been in the dumper for years, and this new direction will just make it worse.  Perhaps the government doesn’t realize that this will eventually redound upon New Zealand’s international rankings. Those who focus obsessively on Māorizing universities may not suffer, but eventually the Vice Chancellors of the schools will be held accountable.

36 thoughts on “A New Zealand university surrenders to indigenous “ways of knowing”

    1. So are NZ textbook publishers

      Is New Zealand a large enough market to support their own textbook publication chain? If not, then regardless of “MM”, Treaties, etc, they’re going to be taught from textbooks written for a larger market.
      Or, the price of textbooks is going to go up high enough to support a dedicated supply chain.

    2. The age old question rears its head again: is pseudoscience better or worse than a rejection of science? Creationism was pseudoscience. It not only made scientific claims, it provided (bad) argument and evidence which presumably would have been accepted by mainstream scientists had they not been so blinded by prejudice and habit (and sin.)

      Matauranga Māori is I think different because it’s explicitly a different system, a Way of Knowing rather than something scientists doing science in the usual way should have discovered. It’s a rejection of “Western” science and thus a rejection of science. Despite all the song and dance about it being a different form of science, I wouldn’t even count it as pseudoscience.

      I learned the distinction arguing with New Ager-ish friends. They’d start out insisting that reputable studies had been done supporting whatever piece of X they were advocating for. Plenty of scientists on the cutting edge supported X. But continue down that path and point out serious flaws in the research and the fact that mainstream scientists are very keen indeed concerning new theories and fields of study and the New Agers radically shift approach. They’d do a 180 and now all of a sudden science wasn’t capable — Western Science wasn’t capable — of arriving at these Truths. X required the openness of a spiritual perspective, a different Way of Knowing. Mysticism, if necessary.

      Pseudoscience vs. Anti-science. Creationists almost never give up like that. It’s always some other “scientific argument.”

      So this is really bad.

      1. Things I take issue with:

        – Your use of the past tense in “creationism was pseudoscience”. Have a look at Answers in Genesis and you’ll find there’s plenty of pseudoscience going on today with respect to creationism. Baraminology is a good place to start.

        – I think pseudoscience / rejection of science is a false dichotomy. Pseudoscience is a subclass of rejection of science. The amount of science that has been done to determine the structure of the tree of life is phenomenal, but baraminology rejects all of that.

        The above said, I think there is something to your distinction between Matauranga Māori and Christian creationism. The former doesn’t even acknowledge the scientific method. The latter pretends to.

        Which is more dangerous? In the long term, it’s pseudoscience. Science works: it gives answers that are useful and ultimately, this is more important to people than myths, particularly when it is a life and death situation. The proponents of myths such as AiG adopt pseudoscience because they recognise that ultimately people do trust science more than non science. I predict the same will happen with MM in the long term.

        1. True, Creationism is alive and well. I was probably recalling when Of Pandas and People was a thing in the early 90’s.

          The pseudoscience vs. rejection of science dichotomy deals with the methods of science more than the conclusions. Had the evidence been otherwise, baraminology would have beat out the Tree of Life.

          Pseudoscience is more dangerous given a culture which values science. But a society which flat out rejects science is more dangerous than one which values it. When the Candle in the Dark goes completely out, we don’t end up with pseudoscience. We have truth claims imposed by force.

  1. As a clarification for non-NZ readers, the 1840 Treaty ( of which the current interpretations of how it applies to contemporary society were hatched in the 1970s, that is, before the main upsurge of Asian and Pacific Island immigration ) carries no guarantees or cultural protections for Pacific Island cultures. Technically, the 1840 Treaty assumes a bicephalous aspect, with Maori as one grouping, and ‘everyone else’ as the other.

    The inclusion of Pacific Island cultures, traditions, and priorities in the Waikato U strategy is actually illegal from a ToW perspective. It actually means that a group of Waikato U ‘thought leaders’ has decided to prioritise Pacific Island cultures and traditions over those of Chinese, Indians etc who may also be Waikato district NZ citizens and taxpayers.

    Since the inclusion of Pacific cultures/traditions in Waikato U carries no ToW basis, this means they are included as ‘honorary Maori’, which must surely thrill ostensibly proud Samoans and Tongans. It also means this is a university-led programme to create a racial hierarchy in NZ, where self-styled ‘thought leaders’ can pick and choose ‘their favourite ethnic minorities and cultures’ to play Robin to the Maori Batman, or Tonto to the Maori Lone Ranger. It also implies that taxpaying Asians who live in the Waikato U catchment area are basically last in line for cultural priority at U Waikato.

    This invidious notion of a chain of ethnic cultural hierarchy is why in September 2021 I lodged a formal complaint with the Human Rights Commission against the Auckland Writers Festival, inter alia. The AWF in 2021 decided to incorporate formal written greetings in its 2021 programme in Maori as well as Pacific languages, without the inclusion of Mandarin or any other Asian language on an equal basis, even though the 2018 census showed there were more people of Asian ethnic heritage in Auckland than Maori and Pacific combined.

    1. That’s a bit of a stretch. “The treaty says teach Maori stuff” + “We’ve decided to teach Maori and pacific islander stuff” does NOT equal “we are classifying pacific islanders as Maori”

      My kid’s school curriculum calls for American history in his year. The school has additionally decided to cover some history of India. Does that mean my kid’s school is classifying India as part of America?

      1. Ramesh’s claim is that Pacific Islanders are being treated as ‘honorary Maori’, which seems quite a reasonable description given the privileging of ‘Pacific knowledge’ over ‘Asian knowledge’ in the quotations given; given the importance of kinship in traditional Maori culture and that Pacific Islanders are fellow Polynesians, sometimes seen as allies in social struggles whom, on occasions, some Maori activists have presumed to speak for.

        And on another matter, But everybody know that’s not true’, would that this were so!

        NZ is a small country with powerful, central bureaucracies and an increasingly monolithic media. Once an ideology takes hold, it is easily spread to/imposed on others – in this case, a combination of Treaty sacredness, the notion that any racial inequality is caused by racism, that everything Maori is wonderful. Some years ago, school inspectors began asking primary school principals, ‘What does success look like to Maori?’ when a more important question to my mind would have been, ‘What does success look like to the rest of the world?’ to be followed by, ‘What evidence-based instructional practices produce the best results?’

        Waikato University’s circle-squaring puffery is just more of the same navel gazing.

    2. Living there in the 80s and seeing more Asian immigrants I wondered why they didn’t go to (my native) Australia. NZ has always seen things as Maori vs everybody else, Australia’s multi-culturalism has room and welcome for all comers.
      Then (and maybe now) immigration was slightly easier to NZ and some would use it as a stepping stone to Australia as NZ and Australian cits can live in each other’s country pretty much by right.
      D.A.
      NYC

  2. This…

    2. Ensure that academic appointment, advancement and promotion processes require staff to reflect on their engagement with mātauranga Māori

    combined with this…

    INCREASE RECOGNITION, INTERNALLY AND EXTERNALLY, OF OUR WORLD-CLASS SCHOLARSHIP

    Makes me wonder: how exactly do they think they can increase external, global recognition, when they are basically telling the world “no foreigners need apply” here?

    mātauranga Māori, and Pacific knowledge systems cannot be separate from other approaches and methodologies, because we will benefit most when all are woven together to create synergy and space for all.

    Ah, the science envy. The kids want to take your classes and do your profession, but we want them to learn our stuff and do our profession! Boo! Hmmmm…heeyyyyyy…I know! We’ll make them learn our stuff by putting it in your classes! That way, they can’t escape! If they want the good stuff I mean all that nasty western colonialist propaganda that clearly nobody really likely, they have to GET to wade through our stuff enjoy the beauteous enlightenment that comes from becoming one with the spiritual holistic world.

  3. “Establish alternative forms of assessment in addition to, alongside, or in place of written forms of assessment where suitable and effective (e.g. oral, creative practice)”

    For years women in NZ universities have had to work around the fact that many Maori men refuse to hand in written work to women teachers. It’s a point that’s been raised many times at many levels, but the response always is to treat it as each individual woman’s problem. It is probably why NZ universities seek to establish alternative forms of assessment.

  4. “Recognise a broader definition of excellence in our suite of annual research awards” – LOL, there’s a euphemism if ever there was!

  5. Perhaps written forms of assessment could be replaced altogether by the Maori protocol of the Haka, a Way of Knowing which pakehas might call “dance”. It is described as follows: ” a display of a tribe’s pride, strength and unity. Actions include the stomping of the foot, the protrusion of the tongue and rhythmic body slapping to accompany a loud chant.”

    The University of Waikato is just a little ahead of the wave which is flooding into academia here as well.
    Making engagement with MM a basis for “appointment, advancement and promotion” is much like the requirement for Diversity Statement catechisms that some U. California administrations have already imposed. As for the other counterparts of Maori thought, we already enjoy the three pou of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; and we are constantly told that embedding them universally in every conscious and unconscious thought is the only way to enhance our mana.

  6. I say, teach science and MM side-by-side. Let them be discussed, debated, compared, tested. Shake them up and let them fall into their respective natural “magisteria”. To really understand science, it definitely helps to compare it with pseudo-science.

  7. I guess we should all just “go back to where we came from,” huh? I’m not sure how we’ll figure out who “belongs” in a particular place. I suppose we’ll have to come up with formulas for all of us mutts so we can finally “decolonize” the world and leave it to the pure and angelic peoples we call “indigenous.”

    /s

    1. The formulas for sorting through us de-settled mutts and who belongs where will be set by our new Indigenous masters. It will not be up to us. It never is. The ethnic cleansers decide what happens to the cleansed. The fact that you were born here and have no other citizenship but NZ, or Australian, or American, or Canadian, is your problem, not theirs.

      They might put us on boats and let us wander the seas, hoping to find a country that will take us in. But boats are expensive. They might just push us into the sea. Or enslave us to pay tribute to keep their smartphones and snowmobiles working.

      This is not a white supremacist fever dream. At every blockade and land occupation, activists wear T-shirts and tell reporters: “We’re going to take it all back.” Yet all we seem to want to talk about is reconciliation, which the activists say is dead.

      The attack by masked Native “eviction servers” on the Coastal Gas Link work camp in the wee hours of Thursday morning did more damage in an hour—including trying to set fire to a truck with company workers inside—than the Ottawa truck occupation has done in three weeks. No one will be prosecuted for this because that’s how we do things here.

      1. I watch/read quite a lot of news b/c I’m retarded… um.. I mean retired. I never heard this story of the Gas Link. I don’t doubt it happened Leslie, but I’m surprised it wasn’t well publicized. Or maybe I’m not surprised. The media is so pro-indigenous, they can do no wrong which strikes me as patronizing and racist.
        D.A.
        NYC

        1. Apologies, David. I should have pasted a link but Sig Oth was calling me to the table.
          https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/coastal-gaslink-site-attacked-overnight-with-millions-in-damage-to-equipment (Photos from RCMP who responded.)

          I saw it here first late last night. Not the kind of thing that you sleep well after seeing and I literally didn’t. Canadian Press and Global have picked it up. Crickets so far from the CBC. I guess all media eyes are on Ottawa hoping to see some truckers’ heads whacked, none so far.

          The media make excuses for this behaviour not so much to be patronizing and racist as to be active cheerleaders for the same agenda that is being pressed in New Zealand, except here the focus is more nakedly on land claims and sovereign power, not on whether woo is science. Woo is pressed into the seizure of power without trying to pretend it is science. All universities have commitments to “indigenize”, mostly lip service at present because the number of Indigenous actually taking university-level education (other than Indigenous studies programs) is miniscule.

            1. We don’t know who they are. There is, as Canadians know, bitter factional division within the Indigenous band through whose traditional territory the pipeline runs. It has the support of most individual Natives (we think: band governance suppresses any public expression of individual opinion), many of whom are employed on the project. It is also known that Indigenous and settler allies from other parts of Canada and the United States with a variety of agendas and funding sources have turned up at protests and blockades there for a couple of years now, typically in support of the minority dissident faction.

              I didn’t want to hijack the thread. I tried to bring it back to relevance to New Zealand’s academic crisis. It’s about how a minority (in Canada’s case a minority within a tiny minority) enforces its will on the majority through Woke allyship. Suggest we leave the details for the Mounties to figure out.

              1. Leslie, this is how Matauranga Mandarin responds to the NZ academic crisis, a news item from two days ago : https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2018830978/avondale-student-not-just-top-of-class-but-top-of-world-for-english
                The International Bac./ Cambridge exams are increasingly used to at least minimise the NZ cultural component and maximise their chances for international transfer.
                At the Remuera Auckland cafe I frequent, in 2020 I was serendipitously having coffee one day next to two ethnic Chinese kids. Fascinating to eavesdrop on their chat : in Mandarin for some gossip, but in 100% English without Maori words when discussing education. One had used Crimson Consulting to land an offer at Harvard or Yale based on his IB results. The other had to settle for Auckland University. Then a local eco-conscious well-dressed White interrupted with her ‘Kia Oras’ and ‘Tena Koes’, to which the three of us responded in 100% English. After she left I chatted to the Chinese girl and boy, who opened up when I said I was medically qualified. I could see the consternation on their faces when I revealed the lowish standard in maths and physics I achieved for gaining a Junior scholarship in my equivalent year. In contrast, in 2020 to enter Otago medical school, Maori and Pacific students needed 74% GPA equivalent ; Asians and Whites without Maori ancestry required 94% GPA ; with 1 reserved place for non-white refugee, 1 place disabled non-Maori non-Pacific, and several places for rural students of any ethnicity all requiring somewhere between 74% and 94%.
                I asked them how many Asians took Maori language in their schools for final year exams. One laughed and said ‘only the socially needy Asians’. I asked for clarification, and the reply was that those Asians who wanted social validation with the White liberal set at school, or those who wanted to try for law school where having some Maori was perceived to give an advantage for competitive entry to U Auckland law.

  8. There is it again: “knowledge systems”. All of these initiatives seem to be based on that one paper by Mason Durie (2005) about interfacing different “knowledge systems”, i.e. ways of knowing.

  9. Your piece on NZ universities reminded me of a quote that was said to be a proverb of the Onondaga People (indigenous to NY state):

    “There are no secrets. There is no mystery. There is only common sense.”

    I’m not sure if the Onondaga had a reputation for hardheaded anti-mysticism, but I can’t help feeling it would be nice if they did.

    (It’s been a long time, but I think I first saw this quoted in “Schizophrenia Explained” by Siegfired Kasper)

  10. Thx for researching and posting this. My mother got her B.Sc and M.S. from Auckland U. in the 1960s. She’d turn in her grave if she knew. Fortunately she’s still alive but I’ll spare her seeing this …… fiasco, this perfect example of a bunch of good intentions gone horribly wrong, an object lesson in how something valuable and prestigious can skid off the road in a pile of P.C. trash.
    And I’m a LEFTY! WTF will the hard right maniacs make of this? (sigh)

    D.A.
    NYC (formerly of AKL)

  11. I am interested to see how this is going to be actually implemented. Luckily, I will be viewing it from a distance.
    It looks like they are at a stage where everyone is congratulating each other on their superior morality and empathy, and competing to see who can use the most Maori words in a sentence.

    Actually modifying the curriculum for the study of metallurgy, as one example, is going to be complicated.

  12. If, as is very common in US, tuition and endowment is paying for a good portion of that university’s activities, or If, as likely happens in Commonwealth countries, the taxpayer is paying a large proportion, or anyway, it would be interesting to know who pays the salaries of the university bureaucrats who have decided on this emphasis. I suspect the second, since the indigenous population, perhaps enthusiastic about that emphasis, is I think on average less well off for endowing and paying tuition. Can a university in N.Z. legally go bankrupt?

  13. As I have reported before, I am ready to help the University of Washington embed Matauranga Salish into such courses as “High Energy Astrophysics” and “Nanomaterials Chemistry and Engineering”. Alas, the relevant departments at this University have expressed no interest in the enterprise. But if I
    were to offer Matauranga Bella Coola to universities in our northern neighbor, perhaps greater enthusiasm could be expected.

  14. You can only hope that this madness will eventually founder on the hard rocks of economic reality. Talented researchers in New Zealand who can’t stomach the corruption of their disciplines will look for jobs elsewhere. Researchers who submit papers laced with Maori pseudoscience will find their work rejected by mainstream journals. Foreign students will stop coming when they discover that their course material consists largely of Polynesian mythology. Students graduating from NZ universities will find that the outside world considers their degrees as worthless as those issued by creationist “institutes” in the USA. As a result New Zealand’s universities will sink lower and lower in the world rankings. At some point a future NZ government will have to intervene to restore academic integrity, but possibly not before the country loses a generation of scientists and researchers.

  15. So what happens when mātauranga Māori inevitably clashes with established science? Who wins and what actually get’s taught?

    Sorry, I think I already know that answer to that.

  16. I’ve said it before the teaching of history, science, geography, etc mostly doesn’t exist in new Zealand. The result is a deeply ignorant population who don’t even know their own history, how easy would it be to manipulate such people into “other ways of knowing”

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