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Ngā Puanga Pūtaiao Fellowships empower Māori and Pacific STEM researchers

21 December 2023

Ngā Puanga Pūtaiao Fellowships
(L-R): Dr Mitchell Head, Dr Siuta Laulaupea’alu and Dr Kim Southey received the Ngā Puanga Pūtaiao Fellowships.

Several University of Waikato staff were awarded a prestigious fellowship from The Royal Society Te Apārangi, supporting early and mid-career Māori and Pacific STEM researchers.

Dr Mitchell Head (Tainui; Ngāti Mahuta, Ngāti Naho), Dr Siuta Laulaupea’alu and Dr Kim Southey (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kuia) received the Ngā Puanga Pūtaiao Fellowships and will receive funding over the next four years for their research projects.

Dr Head’s research, ‘Ngā waiata o te wairoro’, focuses on developing the next generation of neurotechnology to measure and stimulate the brain in real time.

This technology has potential applications from athletic performance to non-pharmaceutical mental health treatment.

Dr Laulaupea’alu is working on a research project to combat mobile phone text-based scams in the Tongan community. The research will use qualitative and quantitative perspectives, exploring cultural practices that impact susceptibility to cybercrime.

Dr Southey is investigating ‘Māori data governance for housing using mātauranga Māori to inform data systems’ to co-create a shared database model with Māori communities and Māori housing providers. This model aims to better align with holistic housing aspirations.

Dr Te Taka Keegan (Waikato-Maniapoto, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Whakaue) co-chaired this year’s assessment panel.

“This award highlights the important work post-doctoral Māori and Pacific researchers are doing at the University. They provide opportunities and avenues for building a career foundation,” says Dr Keegan.


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