NewsPublished 20 April 2023
He Pito Mata 2023 a successful event
A two-day event for Aotearoa New Zealand's early career researcher community was held this week at Te Papa.
Over 300 attendees and 50 speakers packed the venue's spaces over the two days.
He Pito Mata is a unique convergence of connecting, sharing and amplifying the kōrero of early career researchers in Aotearoa. This year’s gathering followed on from a successful event in 2021. If offered a platform to amplify the kōrero of early careers and wove together kaikōrero (speakers), 'on the couch' discussions, Q&A panels, meet and greet sessions and professional development sessions.
Minister of Research, Science and Innovation, Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall gave the Kaikōrero Matua (Keynote) on the first day. She shared experiences of her time as an early career researcher herself and said: "Through Te Ara Paerangi - Future Pathways, I am committed to reducing career precarity and developing clear pathways for the research leaders of tomorrow."
This was followed by a session on understanding the ecosystem of the research sector with Brent Clothier FRSNZ, Gary Evans FRSNZ, Melanie Mark-Shadbolt, Danette Olsen.
The programme then split into parallel sessions with numerous topics on offer, including Māori data sovereignty, having an impact on policy, communicating with impact, tips with working with the media, opportunities for international research funding, engaging with your audience, and navigating conversations around politically-charged research.
Day 1 concluded with a networking session.
Associate Professor Ocean Mercier gave the first Kaikōrero Matua on Day 2. She spoke about the 21 years since her PhD as a half marathon, reflecting on the 'steeper parts of the run' as she crossed disciplinary boundaries from physics to Māori Studies. The current big conceptual idea that now drives her mahi is: "The place for mātauranga Māori is alongside science, or even... in Aotearoa the place for science is alongside mātauranga Māori".
In the session led by Professor Kathryn Sutherland on career development, she asked attendees to reflect on the following question: "For whom do you do your research?" This question generated much conversation and reflection from the panellists and attendees.
Parallel sessions on Day 2 included the following topics: solving precarity, industry and CRI career pathways, mentorship, funding opportunities through the Marsden Fund, benefits of transdisciplinary collaboration and self-employed pathways.
The final Kaikōrero Matua was given by Professor Selina Tusitala Marsh FRSNZ who read her book Mophead to us, sharing the journey of how she found her voice as a poet. She also shared writing from when she met Barack Obama and gave advice on how to be a good leader. "How do you know if you're a leader? If people are looking at you, you're a leader..."
Dr Sereana Naepi, who has been involved in the Early Career Researcher Forum for many years and is the Early Career Researcher Representative on the Council of Royal Society Te Apārangi said it was "an amazing event that has left me feeling inspired and ready to push for change".