"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 2019, and Āmua Ao has already provided a set of experiential learning events (both international and domestic) specifically 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 continues 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 as possible, and their whānau, are kept informed about these options and that 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.