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Vision Mātauranga: An Intro for Foreigners

According to an Early Career Researcher Discussion Paper put together by the ECR Forum of Royal Society Te Apārangi, up to 56% of early career researchers in NZ are born overseas, with 41% having lived in New Zealand for fewer than five years. As someone who was born overseas myself, I have really enjoyed my learning journey in this space and want to share a few of my go-to resources with you as you start to learn more about the concept of Vision Mātauranga.

I have seen some incredible collaborations formed with really impactful outcomes for Māori and non-Māori alike as a direct result of grant applications that had strong, authentic partnerships. As explained in Rauika Māngai - the aim is to empower Māori knowledge, empower Māori people, and empower Māori resources "to help the science sector leap to higher levels of science excellence and success, depending on how well it is implemented."

Some inspiration is in this video from the Health Research Council (HRC):

The HRC have their Māori Health Advancement Guidelines that give clear thinking on possible ways to collaborate when co-designing research.

"Māori health advancement can be achieved through multiple stages of research, from developing research questions, design and methodology, through to outcomes, dissemination, and capacity-building. Advancements can occur in many diverse ways, for example:

• By impacting individuals, whānau, communities, and organisations

• Through meaningful engagement and relationship building

• Through the development of relevant knowledge

• Through the transformation of health services or policies

• By strengthening the health research workforce and leadership

• By improving health and health research literacy"

So, where do you start? This video by Dr Willy-John Martin has some great first steps.

Give yourself lots of time to learn, be guided, and seek advice. If you are affiliated with an NZ University, for example, contact their Kaiārahi Rangahau Māori for an appointment to discuss your research and possible first steps to collaborate and develop positive opportunities and impacts for, with and by Māori.

Take courses - I've really appreciated courses I have been on covering topics such as Te Tiriti, beginner courses (and even apps) in Te Reo Māori, tikanga, basic introductions, greetings, karakia and waiata. Educate yourself.

Talk to your supervisor or others in your department to learn how they strive for meaningful collaboration and partnership with Māori. All of this needs time to be done well - so respect the long-term opportunity inherent in developing mutually beneficial relationships and don't try to collaborate just for a grant deadline, for example (especially if the deadline is just around the corner).

Co-design with intention - remember this advice from the Rauika Māngai:

"Māori communities are contending with a range of issues of their own, so it is unrealistic for a researcher to come along and ask if they want to work on climate change, biodiversity, or any other ecological project. The best approach is to try to learn about the current and historic issues a Māori community is facing, from their point of view, and only start bringing research into their world when appropriate."

“I know they’re dealing with a raft of issues […] You cannot just turn up tomorrow and say, ‘let’s just drop all that stuff and we’ll work on a science project around stream health’. We have to embed what we do inside of what these communities are struggling with.”

This goes without saying (hopefully), but when collaboration has been identified, professional practices must be ensured - this includes having your collaborators named as a co-investigators on the application, appropriate salary reimbursement (and any consumable/travel costs) included in the budget, and provisions included to ensure protection of their IP to ensure that Māori culture and traditional knowledge is recognised and respected. Consult with your University Kaiārahi Rangahau Māori for advice and guidance here.

Check out the below for more ideas - and share your go-to resources in the forum.


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