Does the PBRF need reshaping? A new Maori educational institution’s perspective

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Transforming Knowledge into Wisdom Holistic Approaches to Teaching and Learning Vol. 27

July, 2004, 359 pages
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ISBN
0 90 8557 58 2
Abstract 

The New Zealand government last year introduced a Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) designed to boost research production in tertiary providers. Prior to this introduction, a range of consultative workshops had been held around the country to determine responses to the government’s proposed initiative. Only one Māori tertiary provider/university took part in this consultative process, and there have been significant concerns raised by many providers, both Maori and traditional, about who will benefit from the new PBRF.

Despite some reservations, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa (translation: The University of New Zealand) chose to enter the Fund. In this paper, we put forward a brief historical review of the development of the Fund and of tertiary education in New Zealand, to show why we feel Wānanga (the various Māori tertiary providers/universities) are disadvantaged in accessing government research funding, which is drawn in part from the taxes paid by Māori. We refer to Kaupapa Māori theory in our analysis of how this situation has come about, and why it should be subject to critique and improvement.

We report on our experiences as an indigenous tertiary education provider in a traditional Western education system, and query some of the assumptions underpinning the Fund. We propose a more equitable approach to aspects of government research funding, an approach that we believe has the potential to draw on the wisdom of traditional Māori research practices to assist with the development of a broader knowledge society.

Keywords: Research funding; indigenous knowledge/practices; kaupapa Māori research.

Does the PBRF need reshaping? A new Maori educational institution’s perspective

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Tawhai, V., Pihera, K. & Bruce-Ferguson, P.