Pacific traditions encourage STEM subject involvement

posted: 8:00 pm - 30th June 2019
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(Picture caption: Eruwera was just one of many excited Pacific youth to attend the recent Fusion 3 workshop, Patterns of Ipukarea. 

An interactive exhibition - Patterns of Ipukarea  - which weaves Pacific traditions allowing youth to learn about Tivaevae and Tatau and learning about the meanings behind the designs was staged at Porirua’s Pataka Museum, with assistance from the Toloa Community Fund. 

Earlier this year, the Ministry for Pacific Peoples allocated the Toloa Community Fund to Pacific community recipients throughout the country to promote and increase the number of Pacific peoples in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related careers. 

Now in its fourth year, the total allocation for the Toloa Community Fund in 2019 was $100,000. 

One of the Central region recipients was Fusion 3 Limited, a company which designs, develops and creates teaching and learning resources and pedagogues on Pacific and Māori traditions.  

These resources are fun, easy to use and attempt to inspire Pacific youth to get involved in STEM subjects, says one of the leaders of Fusion 3 Ltd, Taputukura Raea. 

Fusion 3 attended tech talk event held in Porirua and has a long term goal of developing a travelling expo which could be taken to the Pacific Islands to increase networks and connections with local Pacific communities, Taputukura adds. 

On June 22, at Porirua’s Pataka Museum, Fusion 3 Ltd hosted Patterns of Ipukarea. 

The organisation hopes it will educate Pacific youth by using Pacific techniques and knowledge of their heritage, inspiring them to take up STEM subjects which are incorporated in the traditional practices. 

With the help of Pacific leaders Fusion 3 have created Pacific inspired stamps to teach Pacific students on Tivaevae, Tatau, Fijian Masi, Tongan Ngatu and Māori Kowhaiwhai. The aim of this product is to educate students on the science behind these Pacific art forms.

At the end of the expo, participants can take their framed Pacific artwork home.

Fusion 3 Ltd is looking forward to developing more Pacific educational resources, that will teach Pacific students about their cultural heritage.

The organisation also want to see the number of Pacific students STEM subjects increase, and to make the subjects more relatable for Pacific students.