The future is looking bright for Whakarewarewa Living Village.
Whakarewarewa Village Charitable Trust and the MacDiarmid Institute are working together to design a world-leading education centre.
The proposed Mātauranga Māori Education Centre will support research into sustainable materials, the ecological restoration of the Puarenga stream and improving the land and wider waterways.
Whakarewarewa Living Village general manager Mike Gibbons said the MacDiarmid Institute and Whakarewarewa Village were also looking into ways to highlight commercial opportunities.
"We're seeking partnerships with international companies," Gibbons said.
"We want to be well-resourced to provide for future needs."
The MacDiarmid Institute will also help to fund tertiary scholarships for studies in science.
The two organisations signed documents on June 28 which confirmed their partnership and goals for the next seven years.
Gibbons said last week's signing was a "significant moment".
"We have a full understanding of the opportunities here," Gibbons told the Rotorua Daily Post.
"We're coming out of Covid recovery into market readiness and with a social awareness of what is important for our people."
At the top of Gibbons' list of opportunities was the establishment of a world-leading education facility.
"Within the next two years we want to open a unique education space," Gibbons said.
"We want to get our tamariki involved in learning about science in a fun way."
The education hub or Mātauranga Māori Education Centre was currently in the concept stage. Gibbons said a proposal would be developed for sign-off and investment within the next few months.
MacDiarmid Institute co-director and professor Justin Hodgkiss said the education hub would show how science had always been a part of the village's whakapapa.
"The work of the centre will extend to experiences that can be shared with schools, and relevant curriculum-linked activities based on the themes of Mātauranga and science in practice."
MacDiarmid Institute co-director and associate professor Nicola Gaston said the key part of the work has been building relationships.
"The most important fruit of the partnership so far is the relationships between the people of the village and the institute, the shared understandings and trust, based on shared values."
Gaston said the centre was being planned through wānanga with the village and other local people in a co-design process.
The MacDiarmid Institute has already been collaborating with Whakarewarewa Village Charitable Trust for the past three years, providing expertise in scientific research and education.
In December, $48 million from the Tertiary Education Commission was granted to the institute to fund its research to the end of 2028.
When asked how much of this funding would be allocated to Whakarewarewa, a MacDiarmid Institute spokesperson told the Rotorua Daily Post the goal was to increase contributions to the village over time.
The Rotorua Daily Post has approached iwi for comment.