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About

Āmua Ao

Āmua Ao is an initiative to raise Māori participation and achievement in the areas of science, technology, engineering and maths, collectively known as STEM. The Āmua Ao programme started with an innovative partnership between the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) and Callaghan Innovation, and iwi and whānau sponsors.

"Imagine a world where our rangatahi are adaptable, connected, curious, problem solvers, digitally savvy, competitive in the job market and resilient – that's the future we want for our kids and for Aotearoa"
Āmua Ao is an initiative to raise Māori participation and achievement in the areas of science, technology, engineering and maths, collectively known as STEM. The Āmua Ao programme started with an innovative partnership between the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) and Callaghan Innovation, and iwi and whānau sponsors.

It aimed to inspire Māori students by giving them an experience of a lifetime and exposing them to the world of STEM and innovation. What better way than to send students to Silicon Valley, San Francisco. The idea was piloted by Te Wharekura o Mauao in 2015, and in 2016 NZQA and Callaghan Innovation embarked on a programme to provide the Silicon Valley experience to 100 Māori students.

Fast forward to 2018, and Āmua Ao now provides a set of experiential learning events (both international and domestic) designed to inspire rangatahi to pursue STEM subjects and/or careers.

The Āmua Ao partnership comprises Pūhoro STEM Academy, NZQA and Callaghan Innovation.

The programme has continued to inspire Māori students by sending groups to the Silicon Valley, Hawai'i, NASA in Houston, Texas and Singapore/Taiwan. In addition to these international experiences, Āmua Ao also delivers Science and Engineering Challenges for Year 9 and 10 Māori students.

Choosing STEM subjects for NCEA keeps options open. Our collective challenge is to ensure as many Māori students and whānau are informed as possible and students choose coherent NCEA pathways. The Āmua Ao programme is an innovative way to raise the awareness of STEM and the world of possibilities that are open to Māori students. Māori students further discover that their being Māori provides them with a unique worldview that stands them in good stead to become leading scientists and innovators.

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"Seeing NASA particularly behind the scenes refuelled my desire to become and engineer. Seeing the incredible science behind it all was the best experience."

Female, Houston

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“It was cool listening to the way they do karakia here. After blessing the food we handed over the taonga that many of us had been wearing over the past few days and sang them a waiata which brought tears to one of the peoples eyes. That was a beautiful thing to see”

Female, Hawaii

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“I couldn’t stop smiling. This experience made me want to learn my language and understand my culture. For so long I felt empty in a cultural sense because I didnt feel strongly connected to my culture or have a real sense of identity. Now I feel like I am starting that journey and I am so excited.”

Female, Houston

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"We also had to say goodbye to Mana Vautier, I just think that it is awesome that a man of his status in the world of science (NASA) is interested in us. I aspire to be like him one day."

Male, Hawaii

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“I think that this experience has changed my life forever and has also left me wanting to learn more about my Māori culture and where I come from. It has enlightened something inside of me to want to keep fighting and protecting my culture.”

Male, Houston

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"At the Wai’ope tide pools we got some kisses from the ocean (scrapes and bruises) and we got to see coral, kina and fish. It was awesome learning about peoples indigenous research methods about the loko’ia (fish ponds) and tidal pools."

Male, Hawaii

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“This trip has changed my perspective on so many things. I love my culture and my land. I am so proud to be Māori. I’ve grown so much and want to immerse myself in my Māoritanga as much as I can.”

Female, Houston

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