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Michael Corballis – School of Psychology, University of Auckland | Robert Nola – Department of Philosophy, University of Auckland | Elizabeth Rata – Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland

What is the relationship between Mātauranga Māori and science? We discuss how the former has grown with support through Government policies and university research funding sometimes in a way that makes it an alternative to science. In section 2 we examine a number of different conceptions of Mātauranga Māori, including moderate and more radical forms. Its advocates propose no agreed definition but offer a wide range of different characteristics which we attempt to evaluate. Section 3 investigates six different uses of the word ‘know’ which characterise both Mātauranga Māori and science and which highlight important differences between them. Section 4 investigates some of the claims made in four scientific papers which incorporate Mātauranga Māori elements. However the testing of hypotheses remains a central aspect of the methods of science with which Mātauranga Māori is not involved. Section 5 considers the legal rather than scientific claims that are often made concerning intellectual property rights. The final section considers the ways in which science has developed a reliable set of methods of investigation which are universally applicable to any hypothesis proposed by anyone and which has as an aim (amongst others) the discovery of truth. Mātauranga Māori may help itself to some of these attributes of science, but it cannot replace science as a way of testing hypotheses and pursing truth.

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