Pauline on tour

Dr Pauline Harris is our astronomy expert here at the Centre for Science in Society. Pauline’s research focuses on mātauranga Māori associated with Māori astronomy and Maramataka. Over the next couple of months Pauline will be giving talks around the country from Auckland to the Bluff on the Māori moon calendar called the Maramataka.

We will update this blog with more information on the events as it becomes available, and photos as the events happen.

What Pauline will be talking about

Maramataka (Māori traditional calendar) contain a wealth of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), in addition to celestial, environmental, ecological and cultural knowledge. Matariki is a key component of Maramataka that signifies the Māori New Year, as well as other stars such as Puanga (Rigel).

Although stars are important in traditional calendar systems there are other significant signs (tohu) that also occur at the same time such as environmental and ecological indicators. 

With significant environmental changes occurring there is evidence that suggests that these indicators are changing. Indigenous communities around the world, including Māori, have observed these changes and have attributed these changes to pollution, human encroachment and climate change.

As scientists endeavour to predict and mitigate climate change, TEK is being sought to add a complementary set of information to inform predictions and policies.

Pauline and her colleagues’ have a Marsden funded project called “Ngā Takahuringā ō te ao: The effect of climate change on traditional Māori calendars”. It is a collaboration between Victoria and Waikato universities, the Society of Māori Astronomy Research and Traditions (SMART) and researchers from Hawaiʻi. Its main purpose is to investigate TEK and determine if any observed variations within the Maramataka could be attributed to climate change.  Pauline’s talks will describe how she and her colleagues are researching Maramataka.

Matariki ritual with Muaūpoko

The talks

In May Pauline was on a panel at a Tech Week: The Future of Space in New Zealand.  The New Zealand Space Agency and SpaceBase gathered a panel of experts and space students for a public discussion and Q & A. The panel’s combined experience spanned astronomy, astrophysics, satellite remote sensing, and mission and space station design. Space and the growing opportunities in this fast-moving high-tech sector were discussed. Click here for more.

Then Pauline will be off to Bluff on the 25th June talking with local iwi and council on Maramataka. 

In June, Pauline will be at the MAI ki Te Ao pre conference, which will provide an opportunity for networking for Māori and Indigenous Doctoral scholars and create a safe space for the presentation of PhD research projects. Read more here.

On to July! Pauline will be at Zealandia for their Matariki celebrations on the 1st July – 6.30pm: ‘What Matariki and Maramataka can tell us about Climate Change‘. Click here to register.

Later in July Pauline will present at the 25th NZ PPTA National Māori Teachers’ Conference in Rotorua. The theme of the conference is Ngā Huarahi ki te Angitū – looking at the many ways Māori can be successful and seek opportunities. In line with this theme, and the professional development and whakawhanaungatanga purposes of the hui, the Māori executive invited Pauline to share her expertise in Mātauranga Māori.

Pauline will also be talking to local schools on Matariki including Wellington Girls College. 

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