Funding for kāuta design project

Scion, in partnership with the Tau Iho I Te Po Trust, were recently successful in obtaining Vision Mātauranga funding.

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The 3-year project, entitled “Kāuta: He hononga mo te tangata manaaki” (Traditional hearths: Bringing people together), is about creating engagement as scientists, tangata Māori and regulatory agencies come together to develop specifications for a modern kāuta (open, internal/external fireplaces used for cooking and heating).

Manaaki ki te tangata (hosting and taking care of people) is central to Māori culture and society, and marae kāuta have featured at the heart of this tradition. However, modern regulations surrounding open fires have contributed to the decline of kāuta, and in the process many kāuta have been decommissioned and the culture and mātauranga associated with kāuta are being lost.

This mātauranga Māori project uses the development of kāuta specifications that meet cultural and regulatory standards as a focus for engagement between Māori, scientists and regulatory agencies. This will result in skills transfer in product development, with scientists and agency personnel experiencing tikanga Māori and building their cultural capability whilst engaging Māori in research with scientists and product developers. The project team will ensure cultural significance through extensive Māori engagement, including social media.

The project will produce a set of specifications that will be used to inform future co-design, development and testing of alternative, contemporary kāuta that meet traditional, cultural and regulatory needs. It is hoped that the reinstatement of kāuta in marae will assure a place for inter-generational sharing of mātauranga Māori and help support the retention of intergenerational whanau and Hapū traditions, culture and identity.

For more information on the project, contact the research team.

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