What is good community- and whānau-based research?

The afternoon panel session at the Te Anga Mua Seminar showcased responses to the question of what is good community- and whānau-based research.

Trisha Young, Tracey Wright-Tawha, Invercargill
Te Poha Oranga – Kaupapa Māori Service Delivery

The speakers represent two Māori providers wanting to deliver services to whānau who were wanting a one-stop shop. They offer different services (health and social services), and deliver a community nursing service together. “Our whānau working together in a whānau-centred service delivery are the poha.” They began thinking about research as a journey like the journey to collect muttonbirds. There is a tikanga to this journey, kaumatua approval and whakapapa are both essential, and every member of the whānau has a role. “Our strength is in doing this activity as a whānau.” The Poha Oranga Model is in its infancy. Harakeke represents many things including flexibility, resourcefulness and resiliency. The model is about autonomy and whānau making their own decisions. “Aroha must be at the centre of everything.” Now thinking about how to build workforce capability to work in this way.

See Trisha and Tracey’s presentation on video

Hera Edwards, Whaiora Trust, Masterton
Whānau Ora Assessment Tool

Hera set out to cover the who, what, how and when of the Tool for assessing cardiovascular risk among whanau. Disturbing figures showed at between 1997 and 2007 67% of Māori deaths in the region were classified as preventable. So Whaiora applied for Ministry of Health Innovation Funding to deliver a new service to address this statistic. Kataraina Pipi joined the initiative as their evaluator. It was then, when Kataraina started asking questions, that Hera found that much of what she was doing could be called research or evaluation.

It was important in developing their model of care that whānau were in the middle. The Kia Rite Kia Ora Model of Care was therefore developed. In the Whaiora Wellness Framework they’re saying that it’s important not to make assumptions about whānau, and to use the right language so that they communicate well with whānau. They also held whānau hui to find out what whānau wanted, and what they wanted from the service. They found that whānau wanted to know about whakapapa and so they added this to their outcomes.

Whānau then assessed (scored) themselves for their own wellness. The service found that whānau are pretty honest with themselves. Whānau answers were graphed and then they reassessed three months later after accessing the services they identified they needed. This was a clear way to show whānau transformation. A whānau case example showed the changes that whānau can make.

The learnings were about whānau being motivated to change, and the service providers building a relationship with whānau and listening to them.

See Hera’s presentation on video.

Ruth To'omua Whanau Ora Seminar Te Anga Mua
Ruth To’omua at the Te Anga Mua Whānau Ora Seminar

Ruth Toumu’a
The Pasifika Way

Ruth’s background is in education and literacy. Her presentation highlighted that the Pasifika way is driven by the love of family, relationships, and the desire for things to always be better. She talked about her father’s comb and the value of it in understanding research and “knowing why you do the things you do.” For Ruth “the comb told me about diversity through its many prongs.” This diversity is the Pacific. “A one-pronged comb is not going to get the job done.” Research is about the search for what is common, without homogenizing Pasifika peoples. “Knowing that without each other we don’t have any standing or voice.” In a western research framework, their Pasifika research is closest to an Appreciative Inquiry method. The researchers’ role is to bring understandings to the surface, shaped by an understanding of diversity, ethnicity and context. The guideline developed by the Health Research Council for Pasifika research is a good resource for researchers. Research is about making sure that those who are involved go away enriched by the process.

See Ruth’s presentation on video.

Submitted by Fiona Cram

Community Research


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