July 20, 2023

Kia Puāwai Winter Studentship recipient: Ben Barton

Kia Puāwai Winter Studentship recipient: Ben Barton

Ko Te Arawa te Waka

Ko Ngongotaha te Maunga

Ko Te Rotorua-nui-a Kahumatamomoe te moana Ko Te Arawa te Iwi

Ko Ngati Whakaue te Hapu

Ko Tama te Kapua te Marae

Ko Ben Barton ahau


I entered the realm of research in my second year of studying Health Science with a major in Psychology at AUT, when I was offered a position as a research assistant for Dr. Lara Greaves at the University of Auckland. Our projects centred around Māori identity, which resonated deeply with my own personal Māori identity journey.  

My passion for research is not only fuelled by my strong curiosity to delve into challenging and complex questions but also motivated by the urge to decolonise Aotearoa, tackle societal issues, and create groundbreaking solutions that enhance the wellbeing of our people.

In imagining a flourishing future for Māori in 2050, I envision a continued revitalisation of Māori culture and language, with a focus on increased bilingualism and the integration of te reo Māori, rightly acknowledging te reo as an official language of Aotearoa. Additionally, I foresee a greater representation of Māori in politics, aimed at addressing historical injustices and promoting equity.  

In this vision, Mātauranga Māori, will be acknowledged and integrated into mainstream education. Efforts will be made to recognise and protect land and resource rights through co-governance models. Furthermore, there will be a strong commitment to closing health disparities, leading to improved wellbeing for Māori and fostering prosperity within Māori communities.

As we progress towards 2050, the Māori population will experience significant growth, facilitated by a reduced sense of whakamā, surrounding identity. Instead, there will be an emphasis on prioritising connection and reconnection to whakapapa. This transformative shift will empower Māori to emerge as a formidable force that commands attention and recognition, propelling Māori towards a vibrant and flourishing future.

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