The other day I forgot to mention that New Zealand has a “National Space Policy” that you can read about here. Here’s an excerpt from the brief announcement:
The next ‘giant leap’ in New Zealand’s space journey has been taken today with the launch of the National Space Policy, Economic Development Minister Barbara Edmonds announced.
. . . “With the launch of our National Space Policy, we’re presenting a clear and connected picture of New Zealand’s space interests to the world.
“The policy identifies stewardship, innovation, responsibility, and partnership as key values for New Zealand in space. Harnessing these values will inform space-related engagements, policy creation and strategies across government.
The National Space Policy is led by robust objectives of:
- Growing an innovative and inclusive space sector
- Protecting and advancing our national security and economic interests
- Regulating to ensure space activities are safe and secure
- Promoting the responsible use of space internationally
- Modelling sustainable space and Earth environments
“This is an important milestone in our space journey as it provides an overview of New Zealand’s values and objectives to guide future space-related policies and regulation.
“This is an ongoing conversation. We will continue to engage with stakeholders and industry,
That sounds good unless you’ve been immersed in New Zealand’s politically correct efforts to indigenize science. This is ultimately based on the view that the indigenous people (Māori) are entitled, via the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi (“Te Teriti”) to coequal participation in science, not just as workers but also entitled to teach their traditional lore, Mātauranga Māori (MM), as coequal in schools to what they call “Western science”. There is some empirical knowledge in MM, but also a heap of legend, oral tradition, religion, morality, and rules for life. MM, on the whole, is not equivalent to science, but contains science, just as the Bible contains some real history. Yet the interpretation of the Treaty as making all things Māori almost sacred is holding back science in a big way. So the words “stewardship” and “stakeholders” are, to me at least, code words that this endeavor too will be “decolonized.”
I’ve seen little analysis of the Treaty vis-à-vis education, but it needs to be discussed. The English and Māori versions differ, not all Māori chiefs signed it, and it’s an agreement, not a constitution. Basically, it guarantees the Māori the rights to keep and hold their land, gives Britain sovereignty over the country, but also guarantees that all Māori have full rights as British subjects. Here’s the important part: Article 3 of 3 (English translation on a NZ government site):
In consideration thereof Her Majesty the Queen of England extends to the Natives of New Zealand Her royal protection and imparts to them all the Rights and Privileges of British Subjects.
That’s all well and good, but it’s not clear to me how the “rights and privileges” of British subjects guarantees the Māori the right to have their “way of knowing” taught in government-run science classes. But of course even debating that issue is taboo in New Zealand. (As always, I think MM is an important part of local culture that should be taught as sociology, anthropology, or even religion, but not as science.)
But I have digressed big time. In the link above is another link to the whole government space policy, which is here.
And here’s the interesting bit:
Obligations which apply to all New Zealand space policies
All space policies must also be consistent with New Zealand’s existing commitments, including. . .
- Te Tiriti o Waitangi: a commitment between the Crown and Māori which provides the basis for ongoing partnerships between the government and Māori on space, including on the implementation of these values and objectives. The Crown is committed to recognising and reflecting Māori interests, including those embodied in the Treaty principles of partnership, active protection, and participation.
Modelling sustainable space and Earth environments
Encouraging inclusive, sustainable space collaborations within New Zealand
Mātauranga Māori and space are deeply connected, with space representing whakapapa (genealogical links to the beginning of the universe), wairuatanga (the spiritual connection between Earth and the universe, derived from Māori cosmology), and tātai arorangi (Māori knowledge of astronomy). The New Zealand government encourages inclusive collaborations with individuals or groups who are currently underrepresented in the space sector (including, but not limited to, Māori); and for these collaborations to work toward sustainable outcomes. The New Zealand government will also strive to further understand and assess representation across the space sector, to best direct inclusive collaboration opportunities.
The treaty is quoted again, and this means that not only will equity apply to the whole policy, but indigenous people will get piles of money to give their take on the policy. More distressing is the dissimulation of the last paragraph, which simply lies when it says that “Mātauranga Māori and space are deeply connected”. What they’ve done here, as usual, is make an analogy between science (space exploration) and aspects of Māori society that have almost nothing to do with space (whakapapa and wiruatanga are spiritual and moral concepts). The one exception, tātai arorangi, involved learning enough about the positions of celestial bodies to navigate across the south Pacific and, later, judge the seasons for planting or hunting. But the space bit of MM is no longer a pressing concern to anybody in the country except those whose ancestry may help them get jobs or money.
This is from a discussion of the subject by two academics:
Māngai, Tāwhaki Joint Venture
The knowledge is very clear with regard to how our people came to be here, and that it wasn’t by mistake, and it was through a deep understanding of the stars and the Sun and the Moon and the weather and the birds – all of those things that they were able to harness to get from one place to the next without necessarily knowing where that next place was.
For us at Taumutu and Wairewa – Ngāi Tahu hapū – we are inherently eeling, fishing villages, so we spend a lot of time at night out gathering our kai, and through that, the importance of the Moon, the time of the year when we gather the tuna, which we call the hinapōuri, the time of the dark nights through to the timing of the sky and the constellations that guide us in those mahinga kai activities.
So when you’re gathering tuna on the banks of the river or on the gravels of Kaitōrete with your tamariki and your kaumātua, there’s an exchange of that knowledge about the stars constantly moving overhead.
In the following, “kūmara” is a Polynesian type of sweet potato. Bolding in the text is mine.
Dr Pauline Harris
For Māori, a lot of our knowledge is passed on through word of mouth, but there’s lots of different forms for that. All sorts of information is carried in things like our pūrākau, our stories, our waiata, our songs, our whakataukī. They all carry messages, knowledge, history, information, data.
I’d like to use the example Whānui. Whānui is a star called Vega. Whānui was the father of the kūmara. And his wife and him had these kūmara children, and his brother Rongo-maui wanted to bring the kūmara to Earth. And so he went up there and he asked for the kūmara. Whānui said, “No you can’t have that. You’re not allowed to take my children.” And Rongo-maui stole the children and brought them down to Earth. Whānui was very angry with the fact that his children were taken, and he sent down his other children, which were like caterpillars and stuff, and they were sent down to Earth to destroy the crops of the kūmara so that they couldn’t use them.
There’s lots of different messages in there. There’s messages around the wrongdoing of stealing things but also about the relationship between kūmara and the star Vega or Whānui itself. And when that star rises, it indicates the time of the year, around about March, which is when you have some practice associated with the kūmara.
You can be the judge of whether this knowledge, which was indeed of use to the Polynesian ancestors of the Māori as well as to the early Māori themselves, should now also be deeply integrated into modern space exploration and the policy that guides it.