Nau mai, haere mai Dr Pauline Harris

17 July 2020 | Read time: 3 minutes

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SfTI would like to welcome Senior Lecturer, Dr Pauline Harris, from Victoria University of Wellington, to our Leadership team as our Associate Vision Mātauranga (VM) Theme Leader.

When Pauline was a student, first completing a masters and then a PhD in physics, she was in awe of learning about how the universe formed. Studying stars, black holes, space explosions and inflationary cosmology was so rewarding, but it dawned on her that she was only getting half the story:

“I was learning all of these amazing things, but it occurred to me that I never had the opportunity to learn about our Māori science and what our ancestors knew about the stars. I felt like this was not the whole picture so I decided to focus on mātauranga Māori, and particularly Māori astronomy.”

“When you bring together western science with this mātauranga Māori you really do have an extremely unique viewpoint and that’s really cool. This is what I would like to help bring to SfTI researchers - the whole picture.”

Pauline has grown her career within Aotearoa New Zealand and has extensive experience with Māori collaborations and working in a multidisciplinary space. She will be applying this expertise in the oversight of SfTI VM Seed projects.

She joins Katharina Ruckstuhl, Vision Mātauranga Theme Leader, and Willy-John Martin, SfTI’s Vision Mātauranga Manager, to offer a wealth of knowledge and experience to the SfTI community to guide the realisation of VM goals and aspirations.

“I am looking forward to mentoring researchers to really enable engagement with mātauranga Māori to unlock the potential of this knowledge for the benefit of Māori communities and innovation itself.”

Pauline says that the biggest challenge is that Māori are under-represented in academia, particularly in science and technology. Her long term vision and aspiration for her SfTI role is to be part of a community committed to growing and developing Māori researchers; and enabling engagement with mātauranga Māori for researchers who are keen to collaborate and foster genuine partnerships.