Talking with Shaun Ackroyd


Shaun Ackroyd  has been involved in research and evaluation  for over thirteen years, and has been working independently for the past eight years. Originally from Gisborne, Shaun is currently based in Wellington and is working as project manager for Takitini — a Whānau Ora action research collective.

The Takitini collective is comprised of 16 Māori and Pasifika researchers and evaluators working on action research within the Whānau Ora initiative. The Takitini collective places a strong  emphasis on whanaungatanga, ensuring that the importance of family and connectedness is reflected in their work with Whānau Ora provider/provider collectives. The Whānau Ora provider/provider collectives deliver services and programmes across a range of areas of wellbeing, including health, education and community development.

Shaun says within a Kaupapa Māori setting the strength of the work that happens between the action researchers and the provider/provider collectives depends a lot on, “whakapapa, communications and [the skill of the researcher].” Whakapapa (genealogy) was taken into consideration when matching researchers with providers as whanaungatanga (kinship, relationship) is thought to be a powerful means of engagement.

As project manager, Shaun oversees the Takitini collective. On top of that he is also involved in a number of action research projects in an engaged and hands on manner.

I am still enjoying it, thinking that [Takitini] is a fantastic project and that we’re making a difference.

Mixed methods are used when engaging in action research with the different provider/provider collectives. These methods include Photovoice and the PATH planning tool.

Shaun had the following words of advice about research:

Questioning of outcomes [for whānau] is about sustainability. So whānau-centred services are designed to put the credit back to whānau and whānau well-being. Ideally I’d like to see [Whānau Ora work] have a lasting impact and [transformative effect] not only through the individual changes but alsoin  the well-being [of the community].

Things have evolved over time. Things have become a lot clearer – Whanau outcomes, impacts on whanau and what works for them.

Shaun is currently building on his work with Photovoice and how to effectively utilise it in gathering data. You can find a copy of a presentation that he and Marcel Kaipo gave at the 2013 ANZEA conference HERE

Contributed by Aneta Cram

Community Research


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