Researcher gets $424,000 grant

A Waikato University researcher has received almost $500,000 to lead a two year international study on indigenous well-being.

Dean of the School of Maori and Pacific Development Linda Tuhiwai Smith has been awarded $424,000 from New Zealand's Indigenous Centre of Research Excellence, Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga.

Education, health, language revitalisation and economic development are known factors of Maori development but Ms Smith said she wants to kick it into the next gear.

''I am looking for the things that really trigger an acceleration of development,'' she said. 

Ms Smith, and eastern Bay of Plenty's Whakatohea Maori Trust Board, will work together with a small team of researchers to develop iwi based projects and an international model.

''We are looking at the grass-roots up and the international development in an indigenous area and trying to bring those together in a model of well-being,'' she said.

Most of the work will be done in New Zealand and Ms Smith will use her strong international network to research overseas models. 

''I will mostly be working with Whakatohea and Whakatohea will make decision about how they want to find international partners so we are really trying to support their initiatives and their efforts."

Funding will be split evenly between the partners and they will employ staff in their own areas of research.

''It will allow us to do some good work in Whakatohea and also get a couple of students through their qualification on their masters thesis.

''Much of the focus will be on elements of Maori culture that are successful and bringing them all together in a more formal way.

''How is kapa haka connected to economic development? How is it connected to good iwi governance? It is happening but in a very ad hoc way.''