Dan Hikuroa

Dr Daniel Hikuroa is a Senior Lecturer in Māori Studies, Te Wānanga o Waipapa, in the Faculty of Arts, University of Auckland, and is part of the executive team at Te Ao Mārama – Centre for Fundamental Inquiry.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Geology in 1996, a Postgraduate Diploma in Science in 1999, and a PhD in Geology in 2004. Dan’s research addresses fundamental foundations and applications of knowledge, particularly with respect to integrating mātauranga Māori and science. Dan explores the similarities and differences between indigenous knowledges and science, the underpinning ontologies (ways of being), and the epistemologies (ways of knowing). His research includes how concepts of mauri contribute to ideas about “life”, kinship as practical ontology, how indigenous concepts can be integrated with techno-scientific rationales to imagine new futures for our rivers and waterways, and Māori concepts of time, space and the “universe”. Dan is a Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga and Te Pūnaha Matatini Principal Investigator and was Research Director for Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (NPM), New Zealand’s Māori National Centre of Research Excellence, from 2011 to 2015. Dan has undertaken many projects including co-writing the 2014 State of the Hauraki Gulf Environment Report, geothermal developments, planning river and catchment restorations, co-writing iwi environmental management plans, and industrial waste rehabilitation. Dan is a member of Ngā Kaihautū Tikanga Taiao, Statutory Advisory Committee to the Environmental Authority, Watercare Environmental Advisory Group, a hapū representative member on both the Waitomo Caves Management Committee and Waitomo Caves Environmental Advisory Group, and an independent scientific advisor for various hapū, iwi and ahu whenua groups. He brings both a Māori worldview and a scientific approach to the research centre in our exploration into the origins of the universe, life and ultimate reality.


Dan’s Research

Mātauranga Māori spans Māori knowledge, culture, values and world view. Pūrākau and maramataka, forms of mātauranga Māori, comprise knowledge generated using methods and techniques developed independently from other knowledge systems. Hitherto mostly ignored or disregarded by the science community because it seemed to be myth and legend, fantastic and implausible, mātauranga Māori includes knowledge generated using techniques consistent with the scientific method, but explained according to a Māori world view. Acknowledging this extends the history of scientific endeavour back to when Māori arrived in Aotearoa and Te Wai Pounamu, many centuries ago.

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Somewhere on the journey to create a marine spatial plan for the Hauraki Gulf members of a stakeholder working group coalesced around the idea of ‘speaking for the Gulf’. They left individual or mandated positions and cast personal view points aside to become a ‘voice for the Gulf’.

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Reconnecting us to our environment is a challenge that must be met if the mauri of our water is to be restored, argue researchers looking at the health of the Firth of Thames

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