Massey University is to launch the first science academy of its kind next year with the help of Māori Aerospace Engineer Mana Vautier.
The Massey Science Academy, Pūhoro, will be the home of Māori secondary school pupils from year 11 through to tertiary students and those in the work force.
The university will work alongside five schools in Manawatu to choose 15 year 11 students per school who are interested in science.
The programme will concentrate on selecting appropriate qualification standards at school, providing laboratory space for schools where this is not available, offering field trips and showing students the various opportunities available to them.
Vautier, who is excited to be a part of the academy, says it's "much needed".
“I especially like the ‘hands on’ aspect of field trips, lab work and career exposure. I have always enjoyed helping other people, and with my Māori heritage, I am excited to be a part of this academy.
I am also looking forward to the opportunity to hopefully inspire and motivate others to bigger and better things by sharing my life experiences with them.
I have always loved looking up at the night sky as long as I can remember, and just knew that I wanted to one day be involved in some way with the human exploration of space.”
Vautier will check in with students and provide on-going support.
Massey Assistant Vice-Chancellor Maori and Pasifika, Dr Selwyn Katene, says, “There are so few Māori in science. We want to create an environment and a culture of wanting to achieve."
The Pūhoro programme is funded by Massey University and Te Puni Kōkiri with support from the Palmerston North City Council, Te Tumu Paeroa and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.