You would be hard pressed to see a Māori studying and working in the area of scientific research, however Plant & Food Research hope to change that and are focussed on encouraging more Māori into science.
Hanareia Ehau-Taumaunu says, “I'm a student here at Plant & Food Research. I work in the area of growing kiwifruit, the kiwifruit plant and building relationships with Māori kiwifruit growers.
“There's a huge need for more people, not just anyone, but especially Māori. So we think having Māori conducting science for those sectors for their own economy will be hugely beneficial,” says Richard Newcomb.
Ehau-Taumaunu is nearing completion of her university qualifications with a scholarship from Plant & Food Research and her interest in science is not just recent but has been building for a while. She's impressed with the level of support for the Māori students.
“I've always liked science, learning new things all the time, researching micro-organisms to really huge trees, it's varied. I've had an interest in science since I was at school,” says Ehau-Taumaunu.
“Not only do we support them by giving them work over the summer but also I stay in contact with them and help them out in any way that I can,” says Jenny Green.
The opportunities that await the Māori science students in the end are numerous, who knows what doors will open for them.