A les­son from our young lead­ers

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neu­ro­sci­en­tists. Some have told me they feel anx­ious and fear­ful of caus­ing of­fence. And slowly over time, over each wa¯ nanga, they grow in con­fi­dence. Us­ing their pepeha. Re­lax­ing and tun­ing into whakaaro Ma¯ ori, Ma¯ ori think­ing.

We work hard to build real re­la­tion­ships be­tween our Ma¯ ori com­mu­nity part­ners at Brain Re­search NZ. At this stage we have two, one is with this wha¯ nau. The other is with the wha¯ nau of Puketer­aki Marae in Kar­i­tane.

One of the key dif­fi­cul­ties with the ex­ist­ing health re­search fund­ing model is that when the re­search funds run out that is the end of the re­la­tion­ship with the Ma¯ ori par­tic­i­pants or stake­hold­ers, in most cases.

So we com­mit to long-term re­la­tion­ships with our Ma¯ ori com­mu­nity part­ners be­cause that is our pri­or­ity, and that is the ex­pec­ta­tion in our con­tract with the Ter­tiary Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mis­sion.

So many po­tent rea­sons to do this right: en­cour­ag­ing our stu­dents to con­sider ca­reers in sci­ence, see­ing them­selves in th­ese kinds of jobs and see­ing how they would im­prove them. Even­tu­ally, they will de­ter­mine the re­search agenda, im­prov­ing our re­search so it can de­liver real ben­e­fit for Ma¯ ori.

One of the key themes of the day high­lighted by the tauira was the recog­ni­tion of the vi­tal role of mokop­una. Moko, the tra­di­tional mark­ing, also the per­son; and puna, the spring, pool, as well as the verb puna, mean­ing flow.

The in­ex­tri­ca­ble link be­tween the grand­par­ents man­i­fested in the traits of the grand­child. Our dis­cus­sions honed in on the vi­tal role of grand­chil­dren in­flu­enc­ing their grand­par­ents’ health and well be­ing.

It might seem strange, given we are the Cen­tre Of Re­search Ex­cel­lenceof the ‘‘age­ing brain’’, for us to be think­ing about the re­la­tion­ship be­tween generations. Makes per­fect sense to me. For one thing, the brain starts age­ing from the mo­ment of con­cep­tion right?

And if we are em­pow­er­ing the young with knowl­edge, we are al­ready work­ing in preven­tion. Th­ese wa¯ nanga are in­valu­able in chal­leng­ing con­ven­tional think­ing around what the con­cept of the ‘‘age­ing brain’’ might mean. And for neu­ro­science in­sti­tu­tions th­ese dis­cus­sions – with wha¯ nau, with Kura, with tauira – in this way, are new.

Th­ese lessons in lead­er­ship, com­ing from th­ese grand­chil­dren, th­ese mokop­una and their per­for­mance takes lead­er­ship to the next level.

Ran­gatira mo¯ a¯po¯po¯ Lead­ers of the fu­ture

Hoani Waititi marae pro­vided the set­ting for Brain Re­search NZ’s third an­nual wa¯ nanga with the to­tal im­mer­sion Kura.

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