Research and knowledge are good things

Wednesday June 06, 2018 Published in Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

I read with interest the National Environment Service’s two-page advertisement on May 22.

A good read on the whole – except for the incorrect reference to a student who lived in Atiu for about a year researching vairakau Maori (Maori medicine), which suggests that “no one knows what she did with the information she documented”.

We do actually. Her thesis was deposited with the government’s Research Secretariat and another copy was deposited with the National Library – as she was required to do by the terms of the research permit which she was granted at the beginning of her research.

She was also courteous enough not to reveal the actual recipes of the vairakau Maori so as to protect the interests of the taunga rapakau maki (practitioners) she interviewed.

Most bona fide scholars are law-abiding people and genuinely want to be helpful by sharing the results of their research.

If only some people in our country could get their heads around this – that we are not going to be able to do all the research on cultural and historical aspects of this country by ourselves, and to stop being so xenophobic. Research and knowledge are good things.

Let’s be more welcoming and acknowledge these researchers who have not only recorded our cultural information at a point in time, but have also provided the two copies of their research, which have been checked vigorously by the university they are affiliated with, to us using their own time, money and effort – ie for FREE.

They took a plane to get here, probably another to get to an outer island, and met all of their own living and transport expenses while here – not forgetting the fees they had to pay to be able to carry out their research in our country.

Now, if only we would read the material these scholars have provided free of charge to us…

            Don’t Look A Gift Horse In                  The Mouth

            (Name and address supplied)

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