He Tātua o Kahukura
About the project
‘Te Tātua o Kahukura’ is a two year project that seeks to collaboratively develop an evidence based understanding and awareness of the capacity building needs of Māori doctoral students. Early career scholars in this context is inclusive of Māori doctoral students across the NZ Tertiary sector. The project will explore processes of academic sponsoring that creates a pathway for senior scholars and researchers to provide advocacy and opportunities for early career Māori scholars. Grounded within a kaupapa Māori research methodology that is informed by tikanga, te reo and mātauranga Māori, this project will investigate the experiences of early career Māori doctoral students and views of senior Māori scholars as a basis for the design of a programme that will enhance support programmes and increase Māori participation and success in higher tertiary education.
The aim of this project is to undertake research that provides knowledge about the capacity building and career development needs of Māori learners who are early career scholars and to inform Māori staff in the Tertiary sector who provide programmes of support.
The project aim will be achieved through the following project objectives:
- Identify the capacity building and learning needs of early career Māori scholars to achieve success in the Tertiary education sector
- Document information in regards to effective processes and practices that support the capacity building and sponsoring of early career Māori scholars.
- Undertake a series of workshops with early career Māori scholars and Māori staff to pilot career pathway planning, engage feedback and refine research findings.
- Produce research report and resources to inform supervisors, research teams and the broader tertiary education institution (TEI) community on enhancing capacity building and sponsorship with early career Māori scholars.
Kaupapa Māori Methodology
Kaupapa Māori provides the methodological approach to this research. Smith (1999) states that Kaupapa Māori provides us a way through which to frame and structure our thinking and approaches to research. It enables an analysis of issues within Aotearoa from an approach that is distinctively Māori. The project leader and the team have been engaged with, and at the cutting edge of, Kaupapa Māori theory, methodology and praxis. Professor Smith’s seminal publication ‘Decolonising Methodologies’ is recognised both nationally and internationally as a critical text within the field. Within ‘Decolonising Methodologies’ it is argued that Kaupapa Māori methodology must be transformative and provide clear pathways to translation for change within our communities.
The approach taken within Te Tātua o Kahukura is one that actively involves the learners in a collective practice of co-designing key elements and principles that they believe are necessary to more effectively support Māori learners to achieve success within the academy. This includes the development of clear academic pathways and identifying the resources and types of support required to enhance their experiences as emerging Māori academics. A key element to this methodological approach is the notion of research as transformation, and within the context of Māori education there is a need to ensure that Māori learners are able to live fully as Māori within their educational experiences.
Kaupapa Māori will inform and shape the methods employed, which include interviews, hui, workshops, pilot career pathway development based on preliminary research findings and literature review. Analysis will be grounded upon and informed by kaupapa Māori and will include thematic analysis. Pūrākau will provide a method that enables participants to share their experiences through a Māori storytelling process and will be integral to both the collecting of data and as a process of networking that will strengthen connections between learners. The method of participant reflection and validation is a part of a process whereby pūrākau has a role of being ‘thought provoking’. This form of feedback on key themes and findings through the presentations of preliminary findings and piloting through workshops will then contribute to the final research outputs and development of resources to inform enhanced capacity building and sponsor relationships.
A research report will be developed which will also include a framework for how TEI might put into place a more coherent approach to supporting this group of Māori learners to achieve success as Māori within their respective institutions.
Progress to date
The initial round of workshops and interviews were carried out throughout 2015, and produced the primary data for this project. The first round of hui provided an opportunity for Māori learners to discuss with the project team their professional development and support needs and the aspirations they held for achieving success as Māori doctoral students and academics.
The project also took the opportunity to interview staff working closely with this cohort of students in order to gauge the organisational capacity of the institutions that these learners were enrolled with. The interviews similarly provided a valuable opportunity for the project team to both document, and for the academics to reflect upon, what is available in terms of resources and staffing, and their own early career development opportunities within the institutions involved.
The workshop and interview material was reviewed and the research team identified recurrent themes within the transcripts. These themes, and a selection of excerpts from the workshops and interviews that demonstrated those themes, were presented back to participants through the second series of workshops run in 2016. The second series of workshops was intended to share the findings to date and ensure a process of participant validation, gaining feedback and verification that the way in which the research team were interpreting the material shared aligned with the participant’s original understandings and intentions.
The research team are now completing the final report and beginning the implementation of the research dissemination plan.
Associate Professor Leonie Pihama – Principal Investigator
Dr Sarah-Jane Tiakiwai – Co-Investigator/Researcher, Facilitator
Dr Jenny Lee – Workshop Leader and Facilitator
Professor Linda Smith – Senior Advisor
Associate Professor Tracy McIntosh - Advisor
Herearoha Skipper – Project Manager
Rangimarie Mahuika – Research Officer
Ako Aotearoa $150,000 (excl. GST)
University of Waikato $101,543 (excl. GST)
Ngā Pae o Māramatanga $100,000(excl. GST)
Project commenced: Start 2015
Expected project completion: Mid 2017
The report from this project is published under the Creative Commons 3.0 New Zealand Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence (BY-NC-SA). Under this licence you are free to copy, distribute, display and perform the work as well as to remix, tweak, and build upon this work non-commercially, as long as you credit the author/s and license your new creations under the identical terms.