Lincoln University administrators did some consulting before answering questions first sent to them on September 21. They finally answered the questions – about the incorporation of matauranga Maori in science classes – earlier this month but won’t say who was consulted.
The short answer is yes, it is incorporated in their science classes.
- Is Maori knowledge incorporated in science courses, at Lincoln University
2. If so, when was it introduced to science courses, why was it introduced, and is it incorporated in all science courses or just some?
Maori knowledge content began to be introduced into some courses at Lincoln University from around 2005 by individual lecturers who were motivated to do so. Currently some courses available in 2018 have Maori knowledge content.
The university has been somewhat sparse with the information it provided and is not disclosing the identities of the people whom it consulted after insisting Bob Edlin’s questions be dealt with under the Official Information Act.
All other universities approached for information had replied by early November. All but the University of Auckland said yes, they did incorporate Maori knowledge in science as well as other courses.
At the University of Canterbury it has become mandatory for science students to absorb an understanding of Maori knowledge and culture in a first-year course. Students will get to learn basic te reo Māori and protocol and develop a mihi.
The questions were prompted by the broadcasting of Maori grievances about universities in a Radio NZ Morning Report news item in September. Among the grievances was a complaint that “Maori knowledge” is not being adequately or properly taught in science classes at VUW.
Edlin wrote to each of the universities to say he understood “Maori knowledge” incorporates concepts such as mauri, a fundamental matter of Maori belief which might be taught in anthropology or philosophy classes, or in Maori studies – but is it being incorporated in science classes too?
If so, when was it introduced to science courses, why was it introduced, and is it incorporated in all science courses?
The questions were sent to ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ on September 21 and a reminder was sent on October 1. Neither email was acknowledged.
On October 5 the OIA was invoked in an email sent to another university address.
On October 9 a reply advised that Lincoln would endeavour to respond to the request as soon as possible and no later than 5th November 2018, being 20 working days after the day the request was received.
On November 22 an email said the University required more time to respond to the request
… because of the need to consult with the interested parties. As permitted under section 15A(1)(a) of the Official Information Act, you are therefore notified of an extension to the period for response to 7 December 2018. The information will be released as soon as the necessary consultation is completed.
In reply, Edlin expressed his thanks and asked:
May I now ask one more question: who are the interested parties who must be consulted?
Replies to the initial questions were received on December 3 but one small matter remained a matter of curiosity and another email was sent to the university on December 6 to again ask who had been consulted:
I remain interested in learning who this was.
Should I invoke the Official Information Act and ask in a formal email? Or are you able to tell me?
We have heard no more and the identities of the persons consulted remain a matter for conjecture.