Seven professors, including a Faculty Dean, from the University of Auckland have written a letter to the Listener criticising the inclusion of mātauranga Māori in high school education.
The co-authors expressed concerns with proposed changes to the Māori school curriculum, aimed to address issues of Eurocentric dominance in science, citing this as “disturbing misunderstandings of science”.
In the letter, it was also stated that indigenous knowledge “falls far short of what we can define as science itself.” “Indigenous knowledge may indeed help advance scientific knowledge in some ways, but it is not science,” says the letter’s conclusory statement.
Three of the professors who signed the letter are fellows of the Te Apārangi Royal Society, a science and humanities body. Other academics have criticised the Listener op-ed, questioning if “their anti-indiegnous sentiments align with the Royal Society’s code of Conduct?”
Vice Chancellor Dawn Freshwater stated in an email to university staff that “While the academics are free to express their views, I want to make it clear that they do not represent the views of the University of Auckland.”
“We believe that mātauranga Māori and Western empirical science are not at odds and do not need to compete. They are complementary and have much to learn from each other.”