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From the Executive Dean – Research July 2022

July 6, 2022

EIT Executive Dean Professor Nat Waran

Kia ora e ngā Rangatira

I hope you are all keeping well this winter as we face yet another COVID-19 onslaught. Our researchers have shown great resilience in continuing the significant mahi they are conducting in and with our communities, to contribute to the development of solutions to local, national and international concerns.

By the time you read this column, I will be heading for Switzerland to run an international workshop as part of the work involved with an independent Commission I have been invited to Chair, which was recently established by the FEI (the main governing body for all equestrian sports). The 10 person Commission has been tasked with developing a framework to address current and future societal concerns related to equine ethics and well-being in relation to utilisation of horses in sport. Interestingly this is one of many industries where, ‘social license to operate (SLO)’ is being discussed to changing societal views and ultimately acceptance. Examples of SLO topics include live export of animals, animal use in research and sustainable use of resources in farming/business. 

On the home front, I am also pleased to report that progress has been made on the establishment of our Rangahau Māori Centre, which will harness the Māori research capabilities within EIT and look to find new talent to work on meaningful projects that help solve issues for and with local communities. I would like to thank Professor of Māori and Indigenous Research David Tipene-Leach for all the hard work he has done in leading this project.

The Centre was something we felt was needed to provide the positive impact required to support our region’s needs, but also through the Te Pūkenga network, contribute nationally. Developing Rangahau Māori capability and confidence will be a game changer for ensuring meaningful and sustainable changes to benefit many communities. As reported last time, we are also thrilled to have Professor Annemarie Gillies as Professor Rangahau Māori, who will play an important role in ensuring that Rangahau Māori continues to play a significant role in our regions and communities.

Earlier this year, David, Research Director Jonathan Sibley and I were appointed to the newly established Te Ohu Whakahaere Rangahau Māori, Research and Postgraduate, a sub-committee of Te Poari Akoranga (the Academic Board of Te Pūkenga). David has since stepped down to focus on establishing our Rangahau Māori Centre. The sub-committee is actively driving the development of Rangahau Māori across the network. In other research developments, Te Poari Akoranga approved the Te Pūkenga Code of Ethical Conduct For the Use of Animals in Research, Testing and Teaching.  This has been accepted by the Te Pūkenga Council and has been submitted to NAEAC, the Advisory Committee for approval (hopefully) by the Minister responsible for Animal Welfare.

We have also been busy with the new Research Ethics Framework for Te Pūkenga, which has been produced and is currently undergoing thorough testing at subsidiary level. David, Jonathan, Megan Allardice and I have worked with the Rangahau forum and research directors, facilitating the creation of an inclusive ethical framework that’s in line with the Charter of Te Pūkenga and its stated objectives.

You may remember that we were selected as finalists in the prestigious International  Green Gown Awards 2022. These Awards recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities, colleges and the learning and skills sectors across the world as the education sector leads a path to efficiency, employability and better quality of life for us all.

Sadly we didn’t win –  see https://www.greengownawards.org/2022-finalists for our category – BUT I think we should all be proud that we got this far and in the big world of sustainability within the Tertiary sector – we certainly put NZ and ourselves on the map Well done to all those involved in this initiative. It would be great to hear about other initiatives, as well as ideas for sustainability projects –and Mark Caves (EIT’s Sustainability and Environment Coordinator) – mcaves@eit.ac.nz would love to hear from you. He is currently setting up a Sustainability Group , so please let him know if you want to be a member.

Finally, with all that’s been going on over the past months and the most recent COVID variant taking hold, please look after yourselves and your colleagues. We have a lot to be proud of and some wonderful people around us.

Ngā mihi nui


Professor Natalie Waran

Executive Dean – Faculty of Education, Humanities and Health Science and Professor of One Welfare