Support the continued funding of Nga Pae o te maramatanga


Please note also that the Maori Membership (Te Uepu) of the Tertiary Education Union have passed a resolution to support the continued funding of Nga Pae o te Maramatanga that reads “Māori TEU members call for the Tertiary Education Commission to reconsider the Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga CoRE funding application immediately, because for Ngā Pae not to receive funding will detrimentally affect established and emerging Māori researchers, Kaupapa Māori and mātauranga Māori research outputs.”

I have just heard the shocking news that your Centre of Research Excellence Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga has not been shortlisted for funding after 2015.

The Centre and its staff have been role models for all of us worldwide who have worked with Indigenous issues, regardless of whether we are Indigenous ourselves or not (I am not). We have all been inspired by and referred to its long-term work in developing a completely new type of intellectual thinking, decolonising the minds of academics and communities alike. Not only have they lovingly fostered a new generation of researchers, but they have also been patiently teaching non-Indigenous (and even Indigenous) politicians, administrators, and educators about how to develop and implement Indigenous world views in research and in relations between reseach(ers) and surrounding communities. The work of the Centre has given confidence, inspiration, and hope to thousands of Indigenous youth all over the world, inside and outside the academia. Ever since Linda Tuhiwai Smith's path-breaking book Deconstructing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples, the philosophies developed by her and others in the Centre have guided a lot of work and thinking worldwide. Now that the results are starting to show, and the Centre could develop further, with the support of all the young Indigenous researchers that have been growing under its influence, and enhance scientific thinking globally, you are planning to cut it, thereby destroying the work that the Centre has achieved and can achieve in the future. That would be an irreparable loss for the global scientific community, and a shame for all of Aotearoa.

Today we live in a neoliberal profit-oriented globalised world, with growing gaps, guided by growthism, that is about to completely ruin the possibilities of social and economic justice and any future for our great grandchildren. Now, more than ever, a deep research-based analysis, understanding and global spread of Indigenous more sustainable worldviews are vital for the future of the planet. Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga has played and will play a central role in this globally. With its worldwide research and other networks, its influence reaches everywhere. Even very numerically small Indigenous peoples, including many who do not know English, are inspired by it, as I could see, for instance, among Aanaar Saami, with some 350 people in northern Finland. They have undergone a phenomenal linguistic and cultural revitalisation - see our book Olthuis, Marja-Liisa, Kivelä, Suvi and Skutnabb-Kangas, Tove (2013). Revitalising Indigenous languages. How to recreate a lost generation. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. Series Linguistic Diversity and Language Rights (the main author, Marja-Liisa Olthuis is herself Aanaar Saami and the only Aanaar Saami in the world with a doctorate.).

I sincerely hope that you will reconsider, and continue funding this unique Centre. I am sure that all my colleagues and former students join me in this plea.

Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, emerita