3. Focus on kaupapa Māori research and Vision Mātauranga alignment – information available for SSIF and Marsden funds

3.1 Over half of SSIF projects said they were relevant to Māori, only 4% were described as kaupapa Māori research

Figure 5 RSI funding Maori

Figure 5: SSIF projects indicating relevance to Māori and kaupapa Māori research, 2018 to 2020

  • 392 (53%) out of 737 SSIF funded projects indicated relevance to Māori. These projects were worth a collective $335 million.
  • Of the 392 projects, 32 projects (4.3%) worth $7.6 million said the kaupapa Māori research category best describes the project (2018 to 2020 data) – all projects were led by 2 Crown Research Institutes.

Table 1: SSIF projects – host organisations that described their projects as kaupapa Māori research, 2018 to 2020

Host organisation  $ Funding awarded Project count
Mannaaki Whenua Landcare Research  $5.9m 24
NIWA $1.7m 8
Grand total $7.6m 32

Note: Host organisations are those that hold the main contract with MBIE and are responsible for an SSIF programme. Other partner, or subcontractor organisations may carry out specific research projects undertaken as part of an SSIF programme.

Common themes in project descriptions of projects hosted by Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research include:

  • using indigenous knowledge and mātauranga Māori as evidence
  • projects led in partnership or based on co-design
  • projects intended to produce positive outcomes for Māori.

In contrast, project descriptions for the projects hosted by NIWA focused on project deliverables: development of tools and options for marine taonga and Māori business and community (note that the projects’ actual methods were not analysed).

“We developed a cross-cultural forest monitoring system using plot-based survey measures developed by scientists, and a set of community-based survey indicators developed by Māori.”

“This project aimed to record tangata whenua perspectives on pest control tools, their development and application in the environment.”

“A kaupapa Māori restoration assessment was also developed to inform and drive restoration decision-making from hapū and iwi perspectives.”

Source: quotes from applications.

3.2 Over half of all Marsden contracts indicate an alignment with the Vision Mātauranga themes, and this proportion has been increasing

Figure 6 RSI funding Maori

Figure 6: Number of Marsden contracts indicating an alignment with one or more of the 4 Vision Mātauranga Māori themes, 2018 to 2020

Marsden contract holders are asked whether the research project aligns with one or more of the 4 themes of Vision Mātauranga. They can select all that are relevant.

215 contracts were aligned with Vision Mātauranga, worth $139.6 million (56% of the value of all funds awarded).

388 contracts worth $247.7 million were awarded over this time period.

3.3 Marsden contracts report strongest alignment with two themes: Hauora/Health and Mātauranga

Few contracts note an alignment to the theme of Indigenous Innovation, while at least a third of contracts awarded within the Marsden fund each year note an alignment with the theme of Hauora/Health.

Figure 7 RSI funding Maori

Figure 7: Proportion of Marsden contracts that report alignment to each of the Vision Mātauranga themes, 2018 to 2020

3.4 Māori-led* contracts are a small proportion of Marsden contracts

Figure 8 RSI funding Maori

Figure 8: Count and value of Māori-led Marsden contracts, 2018 to 2020

7.5% of all new contracts awarded in 2018 to 2020 are estimated to be Māori-led – this proportion holds true for the value of contracts awarded.

*Here Māori-led is defined as ‘at least 20% of the key applicants in the project identify as Māori.’

Vision Mātauranga themes

  1. Indigenous Innovation: Contributing to economic growth through distinctive research and development.
  2. Taiao/Environment: Achieving environmental sustainability through iwi and hapū relationships with land and sea.
  3. Hauora/Health: Improving health and social well-being.
  4. Mātauranga: Exploring indigenous knowledge and science and innovation.
Last updated: 19 April 2023