Friday, April 27, 2012

Research and Maori consultation

Part of the process of applying for ethics approval at the institution where I work, Otago Polytechnic, is Maori consultation. At the very minimum, this is a discussion with Dr Khyla Russell, the Kaitohutohu, and her team. I welcome this and can see the sense of this consultation, especially if I am doing research that involves, or impacts on Maori.  But I must admit, I have seen this as a 'tick box' exercise when it comes to my online research....including the evaluation of the Virtual International Day of the Midwife (VIDM). This research does not target Maori, not does it ask for information about ethnicity. So, with my latest ethics application for this year's evaluation, I wasn't sure what I would gain from the Kaitohutohu team.

What actually ended up happening was a very good discussion about thinking outside the square. I had thought about how I would disseminate the research results to Maori midwives via the New Zealand College of Midwives. But what I hadn't thought about was how Maori who would be interested in the research....not because of its midwifery focus, but because they would be interested in hearing about the VIDM as a model for online professional development.

The other thing we talked about was how the VIDM itself could be more inclusive of indigenous cultures. This year we are privileged to have a Maori student open the VIDM with a waiata and karakia. The suggestion was to have an indigenous welcome from a different country each year.

The lesson I have learned? It's invaluable having the conversation because you will be given another perspective on your research. And it is well worth having the conversation before you finalise your research proposal. If you treat it as a tick box exercise, you won't get anything out of the consultation process.

For those of you who do not have a supportive and formal cultural consultation process, how and who you can consult with to get a different cultural perspective on your research?


Gina Huakau said...

Kia ora Sarah, I enjoyed reading your post. Do you mind if I put a link to it on our Kaitohutohu page under Insite in our research sections, so others can read it too? Also did you use the information on our Kaitohutohu Wiki- and if you did, was any of it helpful for your research? Ka mihi Gina

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Gina, very happy for you to link to this post...glad you enjoyed reading it.

I'm not too sure what you mean by wiki...not too sure where it is?

The problem I find with information on Insite is that I am unable to access when I am working at home...which is most of the time.

So long story was my F2F chat with the team that I found most useful. cheers Sarah