Naomi Puketapu-Waite

“Through my Master’s I have a better understanding of the different ways people interact with, and rely on, science.”

Naomi Puketapu-Waite

Understanding the different histories and values in science is essential for meaningful scientific progression. Naomi enrolled in a Master of Science in Society to deconstruct her understanding of science, and rebuild it with a societal lens.

“Through my Master’s I have gained a better understanding of the way people interact with, and rely on, science. The ability to listen, rather than pre-empt the needs of groups and individuals is critical if scientific progress is to have a wider impact on people.”

Through a mix of coursework and research, Naomi focused on the relationships and collaborations Māori rōpū (organisations) have with science entities, and how mātauranga Māori is seen and handled in Western science. She analysed data from the Science Media Centre to produce a report that examined the coverage of Māori scientists in national science media in Aotearoa.

A sense of support Naomi found her supervisor Dr Pauline Harris extremely helpful and supportive throughout the year.

“To be guided by someone so deeply embedded in both pūtaiao and Te Ao Māori was an amazing opportunity. Having Pauline’s support and insight led me to excel in my studies, growing my research into something that extended beyond study and is now benefitting my community.”

Part of Naomi’s Master’s included a period of work placement as an admin specialist at the Science Media Centre. She was able to be a part of science media coverage in New Zealand, providing background support during the eruption of Whakaari, the initial stages of COVID-19, the Australian bushfires, and many other pivotal events throughout the year.

Naomi now works as a Research Aim Lead with MetOcean Solutions, a consultancy within MetService which specialises in oceanography. She also works on a Smart Ideas funded machine learning storm surge project which involves consulting with coastal iwi and other user groups to understand the hazard warnings and information needed to successfully prepare for coastal flooding hazards.

You can find out more about this programme by visiting the Master of Science in Society qualification page.