Dr Anne-Marie Jackson (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Kahu o Whangaroa, Te Roroa), Associate Investigator at BRNZ, has just received the Royal Society Te Apārangi Te Kōpūnui Māori Research Award. The award is given to recognise innovative Māori research with a promising trajectory, and recognises Anne-Marie’s outstanding efforts in forging new knowledge at the interface of mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) and the physical sciences.
Her work focuses on how connections of wai (water), moana (ocean) and mātauranga Māori can have a positive impact on mauri ora (flourishing health). Anne-Marie and her team are creating a water safety programme that aims to strengthen whānau connection to the water and reduce the high number of drownings amongst Māori. The project, which involves researchers, water safety practitioners and Māori communities, follows from Anne-Marie’s previous work, using waka to teach water safety and ancient traditions of navigation. “What I hope to achieve in our research is simple,” she says, “and that is mauri ora.”
Building a stronger, Māori-led workforce and creating research opportunities for Māori research excellence that serves Māori communities is another key priority for Anne-Marie.
In 2013, with her colleague Dr Hauiti Hakopa, Anne-Marie launched Te Koronga, a Māori postgraduate research excellence group at the University of Otago. It focuses on ancestral scholarship and excellence, leadership and community connectedness. Three years later, they created a second element, Te Koronga: Indigenous Science Research Theme. Tailored specifically for research across the sciences, it aims to build a strong indigenous research platform for Māori and non-Māori researchers who are involved in indigenous research.
At Brain Research New Zealand, Anne-Marie has been a driving force in incorporating mātauranga Māori into our research agenda. She has also shown herself to be an exceptional mentor for young Māori scholars. BRNZ Co-Director Prof Cliff Abraham comments, “All of us at BRNZ are absolutely delighted that Dr Anne-Marie Jackson has been awarded the Te Kōpūnui Māori Research Award by the Royal Society of New Zealand. Dr Jackson is one of BRNZ’s key investigators who is pioneering the mix of ātauranga Māori with western science, while providing exemplary mentorship of a large number of young Māori researchers.”
Anne-Marie dedicated the award to her mother, who has “always promoted excellence in education”. She says, “There are many people who have supported me in my career to date including colleagues, supervisors, community members, Te Reo kaiako, and students. Being a Māori academic, who engages in this style of research has certain challenges. Winning this award is
recognition for our communities, colleagues, mentors, and our research kaupapa
of Te Koronga and Te Tiaki Mahinga Kai in our expression of Māori research