By Dr Troy Coyle, HERA CEO

In this month’s column I want to delve into one of the themes of HERA’s Construction 4.0 research programme (supported by the Endeavour Fund). The Mātauranga Māori and Construction 4.0 research aims to address the gap of knowledge that exists between the two by building a uniquely Māori framework to address the challenges of Construction 4.0. This will create new knowledge domestically and will sit internationally as an example of indigenous knowledge being incorporated into sectoral transformation.

As no Construction 4.0 framework currently exists, this is an exciting program of work where we will see Māori perspectives being incorporated from the outset to address the challenges of Construction 4.0. This will be the first time globally that indigenous world views are incorporated into decision support tools using Construction 4.0.
In its simplest form mātauranga Māori uses kawa (cultural practices) and tikanga (cultural principles) to examine and understand the world. It is a distinctive view of relationship between people and environment and draws from Te Kete Tuāuri (ritual knowledge), Te Kete Tuāutea (eternal knowledge) and Te Kete Aronui (secular knowledge).

The research aims to build a transformational and new paradigm around Construction 4.0 in Aotearoa without compromising the integrity of Tuhonotanga (attachment, joining, link), Ngakaupono (honestly, good faith) and Ukaipotanga (originating from mother/real home, sustaining) as the guiding whare kōrero (schools of learning, places where traditional narratives and knowledge are taught) of the Mātauranga Māori theme.

For example, how we reference natural phenomena influencing construction in Aotearoa New Zealand could include pūrākau (legends and myths) of nga atua, Māori gods and supernatural beings such as the God of weather, Tāwhirimātea and the God of earthquakes, Rūaumoko.

The research will include an investigation of the challenges of navigating through the paradigm differences of Construction 4.0 and Mātauranga Māori. It will lead to the development and production of English and Te Reo Māori articles addressing challenges and synergies.

Deliverables from all research programs and themes will be suited for knowledge adoption in Te Ao Māori environments. This will include the development of protocols required to appease and satisfy the Māori world view.
This research is led by Associate Professor Fleur Palmer, Architecture and Future Environments at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) and Co-Head, Huri te Ao Hoahoanga.

Fleur has been instrumental in developing the new architecture programme for AUT aimed at promoting mātauranga Māori. As a Māori female architect, she pioneered the generate visualisations of future development to reflect Mātauranga Māori, and she is a vital role model for other women and Māori who work and study in design-related fields.

She is supported by Dr Mahonri Owen who was instrumental in developing the first concepts for this research theme while he was employed by Pūhoro STEMM, and by Dr Kris Roy – both of whom are based at the University of Waikato.
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Dr Troy Coyle brings more than 20 years’ experience in innovation management across a range of industries including materials science, medical radiation physics, biotechnology, sustainable building products, renewable energy and steel. She is a scientist with a PhD (University of NSW) with training in journalism and communications.