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15 July 2021 | news

A statement from UNZ's chief executive Chris Whelan:

In an interview with RNZ on Monday 5 July, I discussed Universities New Zealand’s concerns about the changes to the Performance Based Research Fund recently announced by the Government.

I acknowledge that the language I used was unfortunate and not mana-enhancing for Māori and Pasifika, and for Māori and Pasifika researchers in particular. I want to be clear that UNZ wholeheartedly supports moves to establish a more diverse, inclusive and equitable research system.

UNZ is fully committed to ensuring that Māori and Pasifika researchers are well supported and for their important research to be funded and promoted to the fullest extent. My concerns have been around whether changes to the PBRF are the most effective way of achieving this, however I acknowledge the phrases I used were unfortunate and I apologise for this as well as the distress caused by my words.

UNZ highly values the expert contribution made by Māori and Pasifika researchers and academics across the university sector in Aotearoa New Zealand and will continue to look for ways to work with them to prioritise Te Tiriti o Waitangi across all our organisations.