What is MASS?
MASS is short for “Māori Association of Social Sciences”. MASS is an inclusive organisation that engages broadly with the social sciences to promote our kaupapa that focuses on Maori development. In a very useful contribution at our 2008 conference Moana Jackson framed Māori social scientists as ‘Māori community knowledge bearers’.
The aim of MASS is to promote networking amongst Māori social scientists in their many settings and to foster the realisation of their research efforts in contributing to to Māori development and advancement. Maintaining active links and research relationships can improve the outcomes for our small, scattered, but growing Maori social science workforce by enhancing capability-building, generating research clusters and providing the benefit of collective voice on issues of importance to Māori and social science.
MASS is a collaboration among Māori social scientists at Universities, Wānanga and community sites throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. It arose out of an identified need for better networking at researcher level within the tertiary sector to enhance the work of Māori social science for our communities. The formation of MASS MASS began as steering group in November 2006 and organised a national Hui in Rotorua which was attended by 50 Māori social scientists from Universities and Wānanga. There was strong support for ongoing networking and for an academic conference to be held in 2008.
The Critical MASS conference was held in June 2008 at Te Herenga Waka Marae at Victoria University of Wellington with participation from 180 Māori social scientists. During the conference, it was agreed to formalise MASS as an incorporated society and to hold a second conference in 2010
As well as conferencing, MASS is involved in a range of research and projects within and around Māori communities. These include monthly Executive meetings using Access Grid technology, website development to facilitate linkages, a monthly e-newsletter for our members, publication and dissemination of Māori scholarly social science works, active collaborations among members such as a new network Hauora Whenua, Hauora Tangata initiated via Te Rōpū Whariki and consultations such as the ongoing discussions between MASS and the Māori division of StatsNZ about the new Māori social survey.
The MASS Executive Committee
MASS is led by an Executive chaired by Associate Professor Peter Adds of Te Kawa ā Māui (Māori Studies) at Victoria University of Wellington and is made up of representatives from universities and wānanga across Aotearoa New Zealand.