NZIMMR Green to Gold project awarded Vision Mātauranga funding

Irrigation monitoring

Project lead Dr Nancy Garrity. Image: NZIMMR.

The New Zealand Institute for Minerals to Materials Research has the green light for a Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund proposal aimed at repurposing pounamu carving residue.

“Green to Gold – Understanding ourselves and our Māori partnerships through a pounamu lens” aims to explore the potential of repurposing by-products from the pounamu carving industry into 2nd Generation materials, such as 3D printed or injection-moulded products, or as a strategic additive for composite materials such as concrete.

Project lead Dr Nancy Garrity (Ngāti Pāoa and Ngāti Hine), a materials research scientist at NZIMMR, says the carving of pounamu generates a lot of dust and fine material. “Part of the kaitiakitanga (stewardship) train of thought is we like to use every part of a resource. We are looking to develop another material out of it.”

Ngāti Waewae Arahura (Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae) based at Arahura a short distance from Hokitika on the West Coast have been stockpiling pounamu residue in anticipation that new uses could be found for it.

Dr Garrity says that one of the research objectives is to see whether the aesthetics of pounamu residue can be restored, in addition to restoring its mana (prestige) and mauri (essence).

Geologist and NZIMMR Senior Business Analyst Shaun Hayton says that NZIMMR are working towards developing contracts for the research work and confirming the milestones and budget. Work was scheduled to start in June, however, this may have to be reassessed in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and associated restrictions.

MBIE’s public statement on the project funding says, “True, meaningful relationships are developed over a shared empathy of both the Māori and non-Māori world view. However, this empathy is sorely lacking from many current collaborations.”

Dr Garrity says the research will align whakapapa (ties of kinship), kaitiakitanga (stewardship), and mātauranga (knowledge, wisdom) based on an Ao Māori (Māori world view) perspective. “While looking to produce value-added, unique injection-moulded or customisable products and packaging, for example, waka huia (treasure boxes or containers), culturally inspired jewellery, that promote brand Māori and therefore brand Aotearoa New Zealand.”

“This proposal acknowledges the true value of te ao Māori and its mātauranga. It will develop scientific capacity and connection for our Māori partners. It also acknowledges the commitment that NZIMMR has towards its own vision mātauranga strategy and relationships with Māori and non- Māori alike,” says Dr Garrity.

Dr Hayton says that NZIMMR also gratefully acknowledge the support of Te Rūnanga O Ngāti Waewae chairman Francois Tumahai in developing the research project.

The project has been awarded $100,000 from the fund by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and employment (MBIE), and will be co-funded by the NZIMMR.

Date posted: 23 April 2020

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