In the future, Sarah hopes that by working collaboratively with Māori and western technologies, we can heal the damage enacted on the environment and promote the return of resource management to hapū/iwi.
Iwi: Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine
Programme: Post-Graduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci)
Subject: Biosecurity and Conservation
"Ecology is the study of ecosystems and examines the relationships between all things within an environment; a concept which is not new to Māori or the mātauranga.
"Caring for the health of the environment is something that I have inherited from my culture and my ancestors. The damage and pollution of the environment poses a great threat to our lives and to the lives of our descendants. Ultimately the control and governance of natural resources lies with colonial intuitions such as the University of Auckland, therefore, I decided to pursue this qualification to influence change in this area and promote the shift of resource management back to Māori as tāngata whenua.
"My masters research thesis intends to engage both mātauranga Māori and western ecological science as a statement for the acceptance of mātauranga as a valid science within the western academic space. The project will focus on metal contamination and culturally harvested seabirds as tohu (indicators) for ecosystem mauri. This also has implications for the health of Māori communities involved in harvest.
"I hope to work collaboratively with Māori and western technologies to heal the damage enacted on the environment and promote the return of resource management to hapū/iwi.
"The University of Auckland is the top-rated university in the country, and I wanted the best education possible to influence change in New Zealand for Māori.
"What I love most about my studies is the amazing people that I meet. There is a fantastic network of students, researchers and community leaders that empower Māori initiatives and inspire my own journey every day.
"My greatest support at university has been the Tuākana Equity programme. The supportive and safe cultural environment that Tuākana provides has helped me form meaningful relationships and express my indigeneity within an academic environment that is hostile toward culture and diversity."