Nau mai, haere mai

In the lead up to the 2023 election, 21-year-old Hana Rāwhiti Maipi-Clarke told an audience they should embrace the new generation of Māori political leaders: “Don’t be scared, because the kōhanga reo generation are here, and we have a huge movement and a huge wave of us coming through.”

Maipi-Clarke was not wrong. She is the youngest of a new cohort of Māori leadership, one which benefited from the te reo Māori revitalisation movement. After decades of language decline, the movement sought to rescue te reo Māori from the brink of extinction.

Founded in 1982, kōhanga reo preschools offered a way for the Māori community to pass the language on to younger generations. Over time, language immersion options have extended into primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education.

As Annie Te One argues, the benefits of kōhanga reo have not been limited to language acquisition. Māori language and culture have increasingly become part of the mainstream in New Zealand.

But it’s not all sunshine and roses. Maipi-Clarke herself was targeted in what te Pāti Māori described as an “anti-Māori” attack on her home. Other young Māori politicians have described racist rhetoric on the campaign trail.

It will be interesting to see how this new generation of Māori leaders work within the parliamentary system to foster change for their electorate and wider community.

There is more to read here and on our homepage, including a look at the impact our constant connectivity is having on the eight-hour work day, and whether the law should contain a “right to disconnect” from work.

Until next time, mā te wā

Debrin Foxcroft

Deputy New Zealand Editor

Who are the ‘kōhanga reo generation’ and how could they change Māori and mainstream politics?

Annie Te One, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington

A new generation of Māori politicians is rising. Young and self-assured, they are the children of a movement that began 40 years ago.

NZ’s always-on culture has stretched the 8-hour workday – should the law contain a right to disconnect?

Amanda Reilly, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington

This Labour weekend we celebrate the eight-hour workday. But with technology blurring the line between job and home, we need to ask why our workplace law hasn’t kept pace with other countries.

The climate impact of plastic pollution is negligible – the production of new plastics is the real problem

Karin Kvale, GNS Science; Andrew Weaver, University of Victoria; Natalia Gurgacz, University of Victoria

Stringent measures are needed to prevent plastic pollution. But concerns about carbon leaching from plastic waste would be better aimed at emissions from producing more plastic in the first place.

Slow solutions to fast-moving ecological crises won’t work – changing basic human behaviours must come first

Mike Joy, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington; Phoebe Barnard, University of Washington

Ecological overshoot is driven by human consumption and a belief in endless economic growth. Could the marketing and media industries that feed those habits also help change them?

Beyond COVID vaccines: what else could mRNA technology do for our health?

John Fraser, University of Auckland

The goal of mRNA technology is to harness the power of the cell to potentially prevent infections and treat diseases.

From our foreign editions

Indigenous voices can be heard without being constitutionally enshrined, just look at the US

Yancey Orr, Smith College

The failed Voice to Parliament referendum dashed the hopes of many mapping out a path to reconciliation. If we look to the example set by North American Indians, there might be another way forward.

Delivering aid during war is tricky − here’s what to know about what Gaza relief operations may face

Topher L. McDougal, University of San Diego

The politics of delivering aid in war zones are messy, the ethics fraught and the logistics daunting. But getting everything right is essential − and in this instance could save many Gazans’ lives.

GOP’s House paralysis is a crisis in a time of crises

Stefanie Lindquist, Arizona State University

The absence of a speaker of the House − a single individual but the linchpin in Congress − could produce a dangerous crisis in America’s constitutional democracy.

Fallen crypto king Sam Bankman-Fried was ‘perfectly positioned to make a religion of himself’

John Hawkins, University of Canberra

Michael Lewis’s new book tells the remarkable story of the rise and fall of a very contemporary tycoon.

Increasing melting of West Antarctic ice shelves may be unavoidable – new research

Kaitlin Naughten, British Antarctic Survey; Jan De Rydt, Northumbria University, Newcastle; Paul Holland, British Antarctic Survey

Humanity has lost control of West Antarctic ice-sheet melting.

How antidepressants, ketamine and psychedelic drugs may make brains more flexible – new research

Barbara Jacquelyn Sahakian, University of Cambridge; Christelle Langley, University of Cambridge

It is unknown exactly how SSRIs and psychedelics treat depression, but their ability to boost flexibility may be more important than previously thought.

Victims of the green energy boom? The Indonesians facing eviction over a China-backed plan to turn their island into a solar panel ‘ecocity’

Nikita Sud, University of Oxford

The international quest for green energy is reliant on ‘sacrificial zones’ in developing countries.

Far-right AfD makes unprecedented election gains in west Germany, worrying national government

Ed Turner, Aston University; Julian Hoerner, University of Birmingham

Gains in Bavaria and Hesse mark new territory for a radical-right party that once only really enjoyed support in one region.

Israel-Palestine conflict: How sharing the waters of the Jordan River could be a pathway to peace

Zafar Adeel, Simon Fraser University

The Jordan River is home to intractable conflicts and some of the most ‘water scarce’ nations on earth. Effectively managing this water is essential for building long-term peace in the region.

Breakthroughs in medicine: top virologist on the two most important developments for Africa

Oyewale Tomori, Nigerian Academy of Science

This is an era of exciting advances in medical science. But Africa is in danger of being at the back of the queue once again. What should we be doing to make sure this doesn’t happen?