- Written by ARLtastic!
Tā Ian Taylor has launched a new project that teaches kids about Polynesian voyagers' migration across the Pacific Ocean thousands of years ago, and it's personal. The 2019 Innovator of the Year and founder of ARL was 68 years old when he first heard his ancestors' story. The inspiration to create what became maatauranga.co.nz was a life-changing moment for Taylor (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāpuhi) when attending a lecture by Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith, head of the Department of Anatomy at the University of Otago. "My ancestors were part of the greatest human adventure story of all time, and I'd never heard it before."
Ian and a team of people set off to create the website Mātauranga with the hope of inspiring kids to take up science, engineering, technology and maths subjects by telling them these stories. "One of my first objectives was to show Pasifika and Māori that this thing called Innovation and STEM is in their DNA. It's there. It's always been there."
Ian hopes children will be captured by linking today’s stories around Emirates Team New Zealand’s high-tech Te Rehutai, back through America’s Cup innovation and on to the original voyagers and their craft and skills. Emirates Team New Zealand has supported the project from the outset, providing information and assistance. The ambition is that everyone in primary and intermediate schools will at least click on Mātauranga.co.nz and over time give feedback how they have used it in lessons, and contribute to its development.