American indigenous students learn about Māori research frameworks

By Talisa Kupenga

A group of indigenous students from America are in NZ to learn more about Māori research frameworks. The eight students were at the University of Auckland today to extend their knowledge in the hope it will strengthen their research approaches to benefit their own indigenous communities.

These students hope that Māori research frameworks will strengthen their knowledge to create better health outcomes for their communities.

Univeristy of Hawai'i PhD student Mapuana Antonio says, "I hope to kind of change some of the narratives, demonstrate our resilience and kind of address some of the disparities that are often reflected in the literature through a positive lens."

The students are here for eight weeks under the Māhina International Health Research Training Programme. For these students, research is a way to ensure their people are heard.

University of Auckland’s Dr. Papaarangi Reid says, "First of all it's our right to be part of the research landscape. We've been excluded from it for too long and we end up having other people telling our stories in the way they want to be telling the story and we want to reclaim the right to tell our health story and our health future."

University of Washington Master’s student Rosa Frustoslopez says, "We have a history of researchers coming in and using our communities for their own uses and taking that research that they used from our communities and making it so that we're not able to access it. So right now relationships between native people and researchers is pretty rocky so I'm going to be faced with having to mend that relationship even though I am also a community member.”

The students say their communities face similar struggles to NZ.

"Right now were facing unemployment were facing high alcohol and drug use were facing children, high amounts of children in child welfare so my goal is to be able to see specific indigenous-led programmes that are affecting each of those issues in a positive way and in a culturally relevant way for our community," says Frustoslopez.

The students are enjoying their experience so far and are excited about the opportunities this exchange will create.