Montana State University

MSU's Berger Lecture on Nov. 9 probes avoiding environmental catastrophe with indigenous wisdom

November 3, 2016 -- MSU News Service

Kepa Morgan, an engineering professor from the University of Auckland, will discuss a Maori model that is an effective way at looking at sustainability issues at the 2016 Phyllis Berger Memorial Lecture, set at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, in Room 339 of Leon Johnson Hall. The annual lecture highlights Native history, cultures or contemporary issues of interest and importance to both Indian and non-Indian people. Photo courtesy of Kepa Morgan.

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Kepa Morgan, a senior lecturer in engineering at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and a member of the Māori People, will discuss an effective Māori model for looking at sustainability issues at the 2016 Phyllis Berger Memorial Lecture set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, in Room 339 of Leon Johnson Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Morgan, who identifies as a Ngāti Pikiao, Te Arawa - Māori, will lecture on “Avoiding Environmental Catastrophe through Empowering Indigenous Ways of Knowing.” The lecture resulted from his doctoral dissertation that provided a framework for his continued research on the Mauri model for decision making, which Morgan explains is a concept meaning life supporting capacity. The word differs slightly from Maori, which means normal, he said.

Morgan will lecture about that model and how it communicates sustainability issues equally well in both indigenous and scientific paradigms. Morgan said the framework is a holistic assessment tool that facilitates the integration of economic, social, environmental and cultural priorities in a transparent and inclusive way that can predict indigenous and other preferences within the decision context.

Morgan holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Auckland, a graduate diploma in management and an MBA in technology, both from Deakin University in Australia, and a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Auckland, where he has been a member of the faculty since 2000.

Morgan says his research is informed by the Maori and Pasifika worldviews, knowledge, practices and values and conducted in accordance with Maori tikanga, values and aspirations of respect, responsiveness and reciprocity. He said his work involves research processes and practices that are consistent with indigenous values.

The annual Berger Memorial Lecture honors the memory of MSU benefactor Phyllis Berger and is offered each year at MSU by a nationally recognized Native American, Native Alaskan or Native Hawaiian scholar, artist or leader speaking on Native history, cultures or contemporary issues of interest and importance to both Indian and non-Indian people.

For more information, call the Department of Native American Studies at 994-3881.



Lisa Stevenson (406) 994-3884, lisa.stevenson1@montana.edu