Ko te pae tata, whakamaua, kia tīnā, Ko te pae tawhiti, whaia, kia tata
Secure the horizons that are close to hand and pursue the more distant
Horizons so that they may become close.”
A hugely successful programme that helps Māori high school students excel in science,
technology, engineering and maths is now being overseen by an independent Māori trust,
which will strive to become a global exemplar at the interface of science and Indigenous
The Pūhoro STEM Academy was set up at Massey University in 2016 to work with local high
schools to accelerate Māori studentsuccess in STEM subjects, and prepare them for a smooth
transition to tertiary study. Six years later, Pūhoro rangatahi are five times more likely than
other Māori school leavers to transition from secondary to tertiary education at degree level.
In April, Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced a three-year funding package for Pūhoro
to grow the number of students from 1,000 to 5000, and expand the programme to include
at least two new regions annually.
Manahautū and Pūhoro founder Naomi Manu says that this development is years in the
making noting that ‘we will continue to engage rangatahi and whānau in much the same way
noting that enhancements to the kaupapa will come as we look to expand and grow’.
Today the Pūhoro Charitable Trust, created by, with, and for Māori, has responsibility for
Pūhoro. The six inaugural Board members are experienced leaders from across the Research
Science and Innovation sector and Te Ao Māori. They are: Robin Hapi (Co-Chair), Dr Jessica
Hutchings (Co-Chair), Sir Mark Solomon, Tahu Kukutai, Meika Foster; and, Pūhoro STEM
Academy Founder and Manahautū /Chief Executive Naomi Manu.
The Trust will deliver an enhanced STEMM kaupapa that recognises the value of mātauranga
Māori alongside traditional STEM disciplines. Pūhoro Co-Chair Robin Hapi says the Trust
wanted to acknowledge the inclusion of science within Mātauranga Māori, Mātauranga-ā-iwi
and Mātauranga-ā-hapū and the role that our knowledge systems bring to illuminate the
minds of our rangatahi. “It is a very timely transition with the recent debate around the place
of Mātauranga within our education system. We want Pūhoro to be a global exemplar of what
excellence for rangatahi looks like at the interface of science and Indigenous knowledge
In mid-August, with the support of Waikato-Tainui Iwi, Pūhoro Charitable Trust signed a new
three year agreement with Waikato University to support the expansion of the Pūhoro
kaupapa across the Waikato region.
For further information contact Chris Wikaira 0274522472
• Māori Economic Development Advisory Group Chair and Whānau Ora Commissioning
Agency Board member Robin Hapi (Co-Chair);
• Former Rauika Māngai Chair, MBIE Science Board member and Hua Parakore (Māori
organic) farmer, Dr Jessica Hutchings (Co-Chair);
• Ngāi Tahu leader and Te Pūtahitanga o te Waipounamu Chair Sir Mark Solomon;
• Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Co-Director and Waikato University Professor of
Demography, Professor Tahu Kukutai;
• High Value Nutrition Science Board member and Edible Research Limited founder, Dr
Meika Foster, and;
• Pūhoro STEM Academy Founder and Manahautū / Chief Executive Naomi Manu.
Pūhoro by the numbers
– Started in 2016 with 97 rangatahi and now we have 1074 across the kaupapa.
– National transition rates for Māori School leavers to degree level programmes is 13%
– in Pūhoro it is 69%
– Between 2016 – 2020 Pūhoro rangatahi have consistently met or exceeded
nationwide pass rates of non-Māori in biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics
across NCEA levels 1, 2 and 3.
– Pūhoro rangatahi participate in tertiary programmes ranging from health sciences, to
occupational therapy, computer science, sciences (general BSc), engineering, law,
food technology, design, molecular genetics, animal science and environmental