Ocean Mercier

Dr Ocean Mercier profile picture

Pukenga Matua/Senior Lecturer Te Kawa a Māui


Teaching in 2019


Ngāti Porou


BSc(Hons), PhD (Physics)


Ocean’s teaching and research interests are varied, but her key focus is how mātauranga Māori and science connect and relate, particularly in educational contexts and using novel digital technologies. She co-leads a National Science Challenge project investigating the perceptions of novel biotechnological controls of pest wasps in Aotearoa. Her research also involves kaupapa Māori reading of films. She is the presenter of Māori Television's Project Mātauranga and presents for TVNZ’s Coast.

Current research projects

  • Social and cultural perceptions of novel biotechnological controls of pest wasps, with Prof. Phil Lester
  • Virtual exchanges on Indigenous knowledge(s) and science in global contexts, with Dr Beth Leonard, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
  • Student learning and engagement in the Te Kawa a Māui Atlas
  • Place-based and map-based work in Māori Studies
  • The 48 Hour Film Competition: what do the audio commentaries reveal?

Research interests

  • The interface between mātauranga Māori and science
  • Cultural mapping and digital media in documenting local knowledge and diversifying the tertiary education experience
  • Kaupapa Māori readings of film, especially those of Taika Waititi
  • Portrayals of culture in limited-time film, especially the V48 Hours Furious Filmmaking Competition
  • Use of locally relevant 'cultural context' in science resources, especially Te Whata Kura Ahupungao, an initiative of the Faculty of Science (Equity) that has provided multimedia resources for learners and teachers of physics. Short, educational films can be downloaded or watched online in te reo and English.
  • Indigenous academic experience.

Achievements and awards

  • NZ Association of Scientists’ Lucy Cranwell science communicator award, 2017
  • Nomination for Australia and New Zealand Internet Award (ANZIA) for the Te Kawa a Māui Atlas, 2013
  • Nomination for Māori of the Year (Science), 2012
  • Ako Aotearoa Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award, 2012
  • Victoria University Teaching Excellence Award, 2011
  • Māori Academic Achievement Award in Physics, Inaugural Recipient, 2002

Postgraduate supervision

Completed PhDs

  • Ewan Pohe
  • Philip Best
  • Meegan Hall
  • Dennis Ngawhare
  • Parehau Richards
  • Elizabeth Kerekere

Completed Masters

  • Acushla Deanne O'Carroll
  • Sarsha Leigh Douglas

Currently (2018) supervising four PhD students and two Masters students.

Selection of publications

  • O. Ripeka Mercier and Beth Leonard, 2018. 'Indigenous Knowledge(s) and the Sciences in Global Contexts: Bringing Worlds Together.' in Elizabeth Ann McKinley and Linda Tuhiwai Smith (ed.s) Handbook of Indigenous Education. Singapore: Springer
  • O. Ripeka Mercier, 2017. 'Bringing the "Trickster wasp" into the discourse on biotechnological controls of "pest wasps". MAI Journal: A New Zealand Journal of Indigenous Scholarship. 6(1):74-81.
  • O. Ripeka Mercier and Arama Rata, 2016. 'Drawing the Line with Google Earth: the Place of Digital Mapping Outside of Geography. Journal of Geography in Higher Education. ISSN: 0309-8265
  • Beth Leonard and Ocean Mercier, 2016. 'Indigenous Struggles Within the Colonial Project: Reclaiming Indigenous Knowledges in the Western Academy'. Knowledge Cultures. 4(3): 99-116.
  • Ocean Ripeka Mercier, 2014. 'Film sport: Constraint and unrestraint in the 48-Hour Film Competition'. New Cinemas Journal of Contemporary Film. 12(3): 191-204.
  • Beth Leonard and Ocean Mercier, 2014. 'Shaping Indigenous Spaces in Higher Education: An International Virtual Exchange on Indigenous Knowledge (Alaska and Aotearoa)'. Canadian Journal of Native Education. 37(1): 218-238.
  • O. Ripeka Mercier, Megan Douglas, Darcel Rickard, Orlando Stewart, Scotty Morrison and Daniel Apiata, 2014. 'Project Mātauranga - Our Science On-Screen.' In Taiarahia Black (ed) Enhancing Mātauranga Māori and Global Indigenous Knowledge. Wellington: NZQA
  • O. Ripeka Mercier and Challen Wilson, 2013. Everybody’s Putting Their Heart and Soul into that One Weekend’: Six motivations for entering the 48-hour film competition. Studies in Australasian Cinema. 7(1): 61-76.
  • O. Ripeka Mercier, 2013. Putting Māori history, society and culture on the map. Freerange, Vol. 7: The Commons. 7: 28-31
  • O. Ripeka Mercier, Sarsha Douglas, Meegan Hall, Bruce McFadgen, Peter Adds, Maria Bargh, Tahu Wilson (2013). ‘Promoting Engagement Through A Student-Built School-Wide Digital Atlas Of Maori Studies.’ In Laura Wankel and Patrick Blessinger (ed.s) Improving Student Engagement and Retention using Multimedia Technologies: Video Annotation, Multimedia Applications, Videoconferencing and Transmedia Storytelling.
  • Mercier O Ripeka. 'Alamein’s Encore: Entertainment, Information, Reflection and Intimacy in the DVD Commentary of Boy.' New Zealand Journal of Media Studies. 13(1): 29-39 (2012) Print Version Available here: Alamein's Encore pdf198KB
  • O. Ripeka Mercier, Nathan Stevens, Anaru Toia. 'Mātauranga Māori And The DIKW Hierarchy: A Conversation On Interfacing Knowledge Systems.' MAI Journal: A New Zealand Journal of Indigenous Scholarship. 1(2):103-116 (2012).
  • Mercier, O.R., Asmar, C., Page, S. 'An Academic Occupation: Mobilisation, Sit-in, Speaking Out and Confrontation in the Experiences of Māori Academics. Australian Journal of Indigenous Education. 40(11): 81-91 (2011).
  • O. Ripeka Mercier. ‘Welcome to My Interesting World’: Powhiri Styled Encounter in Boy. Illusions: NZ Moving Image and Performing Arts Criticism. Winter 42:3-7 (2010).
  • Mercier, O.R., (dir.) Vai o le Ola (Water of Life): Falelima. 16 min. Wellington: Response Trust (2010).
  • Mercier, O.R., '5,6,7,8, Don't You Blinkin' Obfuscate', in Terror in Our Midst? Searching for Terror in Aotearoa New Zealand, edited by Danny Keenan (Wellington: Huia, 2008), pp. 239-244.
  • Mercier, O.R., 'Indigenous knowledge and science. A new representation of the interface between Indigenous and Eurocentric ways of knowing', He Pukenga Korero, 8, 2, (2007), pp. 20-28.
  • Mercier, O.R., Buckley, R.G., Trodahl, H.J., Bernhard, C., Balakrishnan, B.G., 'Low energy excitations in La1.2Sr1.8Mn2O7. investgated by ellipsometry', Physical Review B, 72 (2005), 2144370-1.5.
  • Mercier, O.R., Hunter, M.W., Callaghan, P.T., 'Brine diffusion in first year sea ice measured by Earth's field PGSE - NMR', Cold Regions Science and Technology, 42, December (2005), pp.96-105.

Current responsibilites


  • Postgraduate Coordinator for Te Kawa a Māui
  • Member of Victoria University of Wellington Human Ethics Committee
  • Member of edX programme reference group
  • Member of Intellectural Property steering committee
  • Member of Toihuarewa
  • Co-editor of Te Kāhui Kura Māori online journal.


  • Co-editor of MAI Journal
  • Ako Aotearoa Central Hub Advisory Group member
  • Faculty Affiliate at University of Alaska Fairbanks.


Teaching in 2019