November 15, 2023
Brain research goes to marae
The head of the Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland – Waipapa Taumata Rau says it’s essential researchers take their work back out to the community, and especially to marae.
Professor Sir Richard Faull, of Ngāti Rāhiri and Te Ātiawa, was last month gifted a kōrowai and a tokotoko by his iwi to acknowledge his immense contribution to Māori neuroscience and communities.
The 78-year-old says one of his proudest career accomplishments was helping establish a whakanoa protocol that allowed Maori and Pasifika medical students to be comfortable dealing with tupapaku and the brain … which are considered tapu.
He says one in four people will be touched by brain disease through life, especially as more of us are getting older.
But getting Maori into research and treatment programmes has challenges.
“That’s what we try to do – make sure we take out researcher who are studying all sorts – dementia, Parkinsons, Huntingtons, epilepsy, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, we’re doing all of these and we’re looking at the human brain through the great gift of whanau and people across Aotearoa New Zealand who give the brains to us to study research – we need to return this knowledge to the people. This is my Maori coming out in me,” Professor Faull says.
He’s taking an ope of research centre staff and students to Murihiku Marae in Invercargill this weekend as part of the outreach programme.