Mai i ngā maunga ki te tai – From the mountains to the sea – enhancing conservation using mātauranga

We are seeking a postdoctoral fellow to lead this project building science and mātauranga capacity and developing approaches to establishing effective and meaningful relationships between Māori communities and scientists.

The project

To address our most pressing environmental challenges, we need to find new ways to conserve threatened species and endangered ecosystems by using the best aspects of conventional science and mātauranga. Despite previous dedicated work and effort that has been put into creating engagement models, not all Māori communities who aspire to realise their kaitiakitanga goals are having their needs adequately met. We will create an effective engagement model to enhance sharing of ideas and ideals to achieve shared kaitiakitanga aspirations.

We will create a mutual learning environment so all participants feel valued and respected. We will work toward the common goal of overcoming institutional and cultural barriers to address an environmental or conservation challenge. The work will be highly reflective because as the project progresses, we will document the most successful ways to build productive and effective interactions.

The Fellow will report to and be mentored by Dan Hikuroa and Cate Macinnis-Ng, both Principal Investigators at Te Pūnaha Matatini, the centre of research excellence in complex systems. Supervision will also be provided by a wider group of Te Pūnaha Matatini Principal and Associate Investigators who are also part of the project team.

The role

The successful candidate will act as researcher, project manager, facilitator and coordinator. They will help identify a Māori community (e.g. hapū, runaka) for collaboration, research and develop the science and mātauranga in consultation with all parties, contribute to data collection and analysis and write publications.

The position is a one year fixed term appointment (1.0 FTE) with the potential to extend (subject to funding success). The successful applicant will be located in a mutually agreed location within Aotearoa New Zealand for the duration of the project.

Skills and experience

A PhD (or similar experience) in environmental or natural sciences (or a related field). Excellent interpersonal skills and a commitment to building meaningful partnerships between academics and communities are essential. Experience working with Māori communities, te reo language skills and awareness of te ao Māori are an advantage. A strong research track record (evidenced by published papers) is also an advantage.

Interested candidates can contact Dan Hikuroa or Cate Macinnis-Ng for further details.

Applicants should forward their CV and a statement explaining their relevant skills and experience and reason for applying.

Closing date for applications: 15 December 2017

Anticipated start date: by mid-2018