Lincoln University at last says it, too, includes Maori knowledge in its science classes

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.

  1. Is Maori knowledge incorporated in science courses, at Lincoln University

Yes.

 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 ‘media@lincoln.ac.nz’ 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.

21 thoughts on “Lincoln University at last says it, too, includes Maori knowledge in its science classes

    1. So you think a Bachelor of Science majoring in Māori and Indigenous Knowledge of the Environment is being neolithic animism? Well if that is the case and if restoring the health and wellbeing of Aotearoa New Zealand’s land and freshwater ecosystems for future generations and learning more in a bicultural environment then yes…I am one of those prehistoric religious neolithic animists… A university such as Lincoln that implements culturally safe practices and has agreements that protects a person’s inherited authority and the common good, plus their intellectual property will be protected via knowledge agreements, I’d be a very happy Māori student.

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      1. Gosh I didn’t see the first set of comments that include ‘bicultural environment’ and ‘culturally safe practices’ as well ‘a person’s inherited authority’ and ‘intellectual property’ ….
        Room for a whole of debate in each one of those . If New Zealand universities accept any of those then we are deep ……….

        Liked by 1 person

      2. What is “inherited authority”? I think we deserve an answer. Are we meant to bow down to tribalism and is this being taught in our universities? What an outrage.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I found Mr. Edlin’s blog contained a lot of relevant information…Lincoln offers more scholarships to attract Māori and Pasifika students https://agscienceblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/17/lincoln-offers-more-scholarships-to-attract-maori-and-pasifika-students/

    I get the distinct impression the unnamed author of this piece is either Anti-Māori and/or against collaboration of
    Māori environmental knowledge with universities which in preceding decades the western science system and their practitioners did not prioritise Māori environmental knowledge.

    So anonymous author..you have a disdain for Māori methods and mātauranga (knowledge) which firstly are a key part of restoring Aotearoa New Zealand’s land and freshwater ecosystems..but I’m sure you have no qualms at all about the increasing misappropriation of Māori knowledge, especially in Aotearoa science policy, however,
    Mātauranga Māori does play a vital role in reversing the decline of Aotearoa’s biological heritage..whether you like it or not.

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    1. I wonder if Siena having packed a sad and sent nasty Xmas wishes, is really here or merely to tell us all how wrong we are and how correct she is? Not sure just why she did come back…..

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  2. As far as I can see the whole ‘Maori knowledge’ thing – is actually a set of beliefs that are about as anti-science as it’s possible to be. Hardly surprising then and in fact desirable that students are turned off studying science. I keep waiting for the fightback but suspect that old age will claim me before that happens. I marvel at the strength of people like David Round when Canterbury University embraces such garbage. How he can find the strength to continue is quite beyond me.

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    1. Do you know what Māori knowledge is and what evidence to you have? That “..the whole ‘Maori knowledge’ thing – is actually a set of beliefs that are about as anti-science as it’s possible to be”

      I have never known Māori knowledge to be a “thing” or even “actually a set of beliefs that are about as
      anti-science as it’s possible to be”

      What springs to mind..ignorance and racial hatred

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      1. Belief in a system where everything living or inanimate has a spiritual dimension is anti-science in my opinion. Note that its my opinion.The very fact that you seem to think it legitimate to abuse me rather than debate that is sad but hardly unexpected. Just as the compulsion in the university courses is sad and dangerous but hardly unexpected in this day and age where shouting in people’s faces has often replaced debate.

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    1. In response to Siena, I emailed her this afternoon to the address attached to one of her comments. It was bounced back by my system administrator.

      My email said:

      Good afternoon Siena

      I regret I do not have the time to sit at my computer throughout the day, waiting to approve comments on Point of Order.

      This afternoon I have had an opportunity to catch up on my blogging duties and I have posted your comments.

      Thank you for expressing your views.

      I wish you all the best for Christmas and the New Year.

      Kind regards

      Bob Edlin

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Aside from the fact that you got my name incorrect my previous comments apply. May I wish you a merry Christmas-sounds as if you need some joy (and logic) in your life. If we are not going to have debate on such topics and you call everyone who disagrees a ‘racist’ thenm we likely will have violence in our society and no sane person wants that. Merry Christmas!!

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  4. Incredible this has to be dug out …let alone by use of the OIA.

    If theres a decision why not make something of it….announce …and look as if has substance…

    The Universities should be at the heart of our Open Society…specially in Canterbury where Karl Popper propunded his theory out of New Zealand after Hitler taking over his Austria of The Open Society…..

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    1. Surely there is someone out there who also worries about a student who says that ‘Lincoln (university) ‘implements culturally safe practices and has agrements that protects a person’s inherited authority’……good grief!!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Mihi includes references to family and place of origin.

    Some have no wish to remember their family and origins, often preferring to make a new start in life rather than be chained to their roots.

    In my case, it provokes tiresome jokes about Catholics and Tasmanians.

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  6. It is interesting that the “Siena Denton” that Google finds is at Massey in the College of Humanities and Social Science. As the axiom goes, if it has science in its title, it isn’t science. And yes, her behavior is that on an entitled snowflake.
    Science is science following the same rules and structures anywhere in the world. It takes no account of belief systems (that is called religion) nor does it make any appeals to authority. And it expects to be challenged to prove its case. Falsifiable predictions -Popper and all that. The Royal Society motto, ‘Nullius in verba’ sums it up, but that organisation is much corrupted now. However, that is just a fuddyduddy view – definitely out of place in the new “feeling matter” world.

    Liked by 1 person

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