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S.T. Lee Visiting Scholar Lecture: Poungawai, A Digital River

Thursday, Jun 8, 2023 at 4:00 pm 5:00 pm

Māori design and digital technology give voice to water through art


  • Cecilia Kumeroa, Whanganui, Universal College of Learning
  • Vincent “Billy” van Uitregt, Victoria, University of Wellington

For Māori, the concepts of mana (power) and mauri (life force) are fundamental to understanding and ensuring the health of our waterways. Our current decision-making systems depend on data that are based on biophysical parameters, like water flow and turbidity, limiting our true sense of our freshwater systems and their surrounding landscapes.

Poungawai—A Digital River unites toi Māori design with digital technology to explore the potential for the mana and mauri of the Awa (river) to be given a voicxe by creating dynamic moving art driven by environmental data. Thhis work raises questions about the complex notions of mana and mauri, decision0making, and monitoring systems.

We hope to provoke such questions and point to the fertile domains of toi Māori and other Indigenous traditions and digital technology for possible answers.

More information:

About the S.T. Lee Young Scientist Exchange: The S.T. Lee Young Scientist Exchange is a partnership between IARC and the Antarctic Research Centre, Victoria University of Wellington. The program supports exchange of students and early career scientists between the two institutions to promote the sharing of knowledge and ideas between Arctic and Antarctic focused research. The S.T. Lee Lecture was established by Singaporean philanthropist Lee Seng Tee. IARC also participates in the S.T. Lee Fellowship program, which supports lectures by senior-level researchers.