Recognising and Valuing Māori Innovation in the High-tech Sector: A Capacity Approach
This paper explores what it takes to develop a common language and shared sense of purpose between Māori and the high-tech science sector. Robotics and automation, 3-D printing, sensors, and digital technologies are shaping New Zealand’s economy in fundamental ways. If, as envisioned under New Zealand’s Vision Mātauranga policy, Māori contribution to economic growth through distinctive Indigenous innovation is to be recognised and valued, then how this happens in these frontier science domains requires investigation. Findings are presented from the first phase of a longitudinal study of one National Science Challenge: Science for Technological Innovation (SfTI) – Kia Kotahi Mai, Te Ao Pūtaiao me te Ao Hangarau. Collecting a variety of data from science, business and Māori participants, the findings suggest that while there is enabling macro policy, organisational and science team human and relational capacities require recalibrating. The authors outline a model of how this can be done through a focus on mātauranga (knowledge), tikanga (practice) and kaupapa (focus areas) and how SfTI is reshaping its organisational practice to align to this model. The research also identifies the important role of the science intermediary as crucial to this alignment within teams.