The Contemporary Research Division (CRD) works on socio-economic development and environmental sustainability initiatives and projects for Ngāi Tahu, Māori and the global indigenous community with a focus on applied outcomes through cultural matching and interdisciplinary analysis. The CRD brings together a multidisciplinary team with industry and academic experience across the agricultural, tourism and business development sectors and from the fields of anthropology, indigenous studies, resource management, institutional economics, philosophy and political science.
The central focus of the CRD is applying insights derived from the Māori worldview and the emergent operational principles to the key problematic nexus of contemporary life: the intersection of the economic with the environmental. While this is primarily directed at Māori socio-economic development and environmental sustainability the theoretical and practical frameworks, practices, processes and tools developed by the CRD have wider application. CRD work is not only helping Māori communities with cultural and financial autonomy, resilience and progress but is also asserting the importance of indigenous values, knowledge and praxis to the most crucial issues of the modern world.
The CRD is working on a number of externally funded, cross-institutional projects including: the New Zealand Sustainability Dashboard Project; and two National Science Challenges – Our Land and Water, and Sustainable Seas.