It was an institution that grew Aotearoa's scientific and research capacity - and then it was gone.
The National Maori Authority Chair, Matthew Tukaki, has backed a proposal for a $10 million investment into New Zealand researchers and scientists working on a vaccine for Corona Virus and has gone further calling for the return of the DSIR – the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research – a nationally structured and fully funded institute.
“If it is one thing the Corona Virus has laid bare is the fact we have underfunded scientific research and endeavour in Aotearoa. Some years ago now a previous Government made the decision to hive our research potential into smaller initiatives that, over the years, have become disconnected but also competitive with each other in relation to funding. Then there was the misguided idea of having our research potential focus more on entrepreneurship through programs at Callaghan Innovation – which lets face it had to have been the worse decision for actual scientific research that could have been made – including the role that the Government Department MBIE has been playing.” Said Tukaki
“The DSIR was an icon of coordinated research across the nation around a whole series of industries and sectors and the potential for the concept should have its time again. The reality is we have some of the best research in a number of fields but more than that we have an immense ability to create and educate a new generation of scientists and for Maori that is incredibly important.” Tukaki said
“As a former Chair of Australias Deakin Universities research centre CSaRO I can tell you I have great hope that more Maori can into enter the fields of science and research and more than that even more excited to explore the realm of science and things such as Matauranga Maori.” Tukaki said
“Today we have an issue with the deployment of a vaccine once it is ready for deployment across New Zealand. So not only has the challenge of how research is undertaken and coordinated – its also about the planning needed once a vaccine is ready. New Zealand MUST review the way scientific research is undertaken and this means correcting the nonsense of underinvesting through the loss of a nationally recognised institution – its time to bring back the DSIR.” Tukaki said