A new report has revealed Māori and Pacific people's expertise is often excluded from science advice, and change is needed to ensure better outcomes for indigenous people.
The report, Te Pūtahitanga: A Tiriti-led science-policy approach for Aotearoa New Zealand, was published on Wednesday and found "systemic solutions are needed for systemic problems".
It recommends appointing Māori chief science advisors into key Government agencies and creating Tiriti-based guidelines for innovation funding. Further down the line, the report recommends a separate entity be created, based on mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge).
Co-author Professor Tahu Kukutai from The University of Waikato says the report is significant.
"Unsurprisingly, it finds that the current approach marginalises Māori experts, knowledge and priorities, with harmful consequences for Māori and Aotearoa more broadly."
The report says Māori should be valued far more in science, as it would benefit everyone - not just Māori and Pacific peoples.
"We know the converse is not true when we think about Western policies."
It says inequity in positions of power is evident, and this must change.
"Māori should have critical decision-making capacity and leadership throughout the public and private sectors and have significant international reach. Many Māori academics and policy advisors have had the lonely experience of being the only Māori on boards, panels and advisories within the science-policy system. In these inequitable arrangements, it is difficult indeed impossible to gain the leverage needed to effect real change for Māori."
Professor of Indigenous studies at Auckland University Tracey McIntosh says the report shows the strength of drawing on "disciplinary, cultural and place-based expertise to generate new knowledge".
"Tiriti-led science-policy approach for Aotearoa offers a critical opportunity to support the vision of a just and equitable society."