Māori Technology Capacity II: Science in the Universities and Polytechnics of New Zealand
Gary Raumati Hook

Abstract


The government is pushing this country towards a future deeply embedded in technology and science. There are serious risks at both the national and personal levels to the socio-economic status of Māori and Pākehā, and it seems likely that those who can adapt to the new society will have an advantage over those who cannot. For Māori who have been at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder for these last 150 years, the risks could be quite serious. The questions are, if New Zealand society is to become a technological society how will Māori fare? What are the risks? Will Māori become even more dependent on Pākehā knowledge, advice, and charity? Will Māori share in the economic benefits of the new society, and how will that be achieved? Māori recognize that the key to economic success is education; however, technological success to a large degree will require intensive technological education in the form of science, engineering, medicine, and technology coupled with business and commerce. In this essay the generation of human capital directly supporting the technological capacity of Māori has been examined according to the latest science degree enrolment figures from the Ministry of Education, and the picture is not great, but nor is it a total loss. While Māori enrolments in the sciences lag behind non-Māori in all degree areas, the overall gap has been narrowed to just below half of the expected enrolments based on ethnic population statistics. This is good news because it means that the gap should be bridgeable without major interventions or miracles. A goal of doubling the number of Māori science students in tertiary institutions over the next ten years might ensure Māori a place in the technological world of tomorrow. 


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