How can Kaupapa Maori inform research?
How can the principles of Kaupapa Maori relate to my own practice?
Kaupapa Māori theory is based on a number of key principles. Graham Hingangaroa Smith (1990) initially identified six principles or elements of Kaupapa Māori within the context of educational intervention (Kura Kaupapa Māori) and research . These elements and principles have since been expanded by other Kaupapa Māori theorists such as Linda Smith (1997), Leonie Pihama (2001) and Taina Pohatu (2005). Other theorists who have also contributed to the development and growth of Kaupapa Māori methodology include Russell Bishop (2005), Kuni Jenkins (2001), Cheryl Smith (2003) and others.
The key elements or principals of Kaupapa Māori research are outlined here:
- Tino Rangatiratanga - The Principle of Self-determination
- Tino Rangatiratanga relates to sovereignty, autonomy, control, self-determination and independence. The notion of Tino Rangatiratanga asserts and reinforces the goal of Kaupapa Māori initiatives: allowing Māori to control their own culture, aspirations and destiny.
- Taonga Tuku Iho - The Principle of Cultural Aspiration
Ako Māori - The Principle of Culturally Preferred Pedagogy
This principle acknowledges teaching and learning practices that are inherent and unique to Māori, as well as practices that may not be traditionally derived but are preferred by Māori.
Kia piki ake i ngā raruraru o te kainga - The Principle of Socio-Economic Mediation
This principle asserts the need to mediate and assist in the alleviation of negative pressures and disadvantages experienced by Māori communities. This principle asserts a need for Kaupapa Māori research to be of positive benefit to Māori communities. It also acknowledges the relevance and success that Māori derived initiatives have as intervention systems for addressing socio-economic issues that currently exist.
Whānau - The Principle of Extended Family Structure
The principle of Whānau sits at the core of Kaupapa Māori. It acknowledges the relationships that Māori have to one another and to the world around them. Whānau, and the process of whakawhanaungatanga are key elements of Māori society and culture. This principle acknowledges the responsibility and obligations of the researcher to nurture and care for these relationships and also the intrinsic connection between the researcher, the researched and the research.
Kaupapa - The Principle of Collective Philosophy
The 'Kaupapa' refers to the collective vision, aspiration and purpose of Māori communities. Larger than the topic of the research alone, the kaupapa refers to the aspirations of the community. The research topic or intervention systems therefore are considered to be an incremental and vital contribution to the overall 'kaupapa'.
Te Tiriti o Waitangi - The Principle of the Treaty of Waitangi
Pihama (2001) identified another principle to be taken into account within Kaupapa Māori theory: Te Tiriti o Waitangi (1840) is a crucial document which defines the relationship between Māori and the Crown in New Zealand. It affirms both the tangata whenua status of whānau, hapū and iwi in New Zealand, and their rights of citizenship. The Tiriti therefore provides a basis through which Māori may critically analyse relationships, challenge the status-quo, and affirm the Māori rights.
Ata - The Principle of Growing Respectful Relationships
The principle of āta, was developed by Pohatu (2005) primarily as a transformative approach within the area of social services. The principle of āta relates specifically to the building and nurturing of relationships. It acts as a guide to the understanding of relationships and wellbeing when engaging with Māori.
Ata focuses on our relationships, negotiating boundaries, working to create and hold safe space with corresponding behaviours.
Ata gently reminds people of how to behave when engaging in relationships with people, kaupapa and environments.
Āta intensifies peoples' perceptions in the following areas.
- It accords quality space of time (wā) and place (wāhi).
- It demands effort and energy of participants.
- It conveys the notion of respectfulness.
- It conveys the notion of reciprocity.
- It conveys the requirement of reflection, the prerequisite to critical analysis.
- It conveys the requirement of discipline.
- It ensures that the transformation process is an integral part of relationships.
Āta incorporates the notion of planning.
Āta incorporates the notion of strategizing.
Kaupapa Māori research is about challenging the 'ordinary' or notion of normal that has been constructed by the dominant culture, and seeks to identify and uphold Māori views, solutions and ways of knowing. It is about empowering Māori people, voice, processes and knowledge.
Kaupapa Māori research addresses issues of injustice and social change. Writers who work in Kaupapa Māori research talk openly about research that has to be transformative it has to produce positive change instead of simply reproducing the same old same old status quo.
While the range of potential topics and research questions is diverse, Kaupapa Māori deals specifically with research that interacts with and/or impacts on Māori people, knowledge, processes and issues. There are endless questions and areas that you could research within this scope and finding inspiration for your topic can come from anywhere.
Once you have the initial research idea, there are some key issues that need to be considered in order to assist you to conceptualise and develop your question from a Kaupapa Māori perspective.
Kia tupato - Just because you are Māori, or your topic and/or participants are Māori, doesn't necessarily mean you are conducting or engaging in Kaupapa Māori research