Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 61–68 | Cite as

The Treaty of Waitangi and Research Ethics in Aotearoa

  • Maui L HudsonEmail author
  • Khyla Russell


Researchers, when engaging with Māori communities, are in a process of relationship building and this process can be guided by the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, partnership, participation and protection. The main concerns for many indigenous peoples in research revolve around respect for their indigenous rights, control over research processes and reciprocity within research relationships to ensure that equitable benefits are realised within indigenous groups. Māori have identified similar issues and these concerns can be aligned with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. The relevance of the Treaty of Waitangi to research ethics is discussed and this paper suggests a revised interpretation of the treaty principles to incorporate the range of ethical issues that Māori have expressed as important.


Treaty of Waitangi Research ethics Indigenous ethics 


  1. Ahuriri-Driscoll, A., M. Hudson, Foote, J., M. Hepi, Rogers-Koroheke, M., H. Taimona, Tipa, G., N. North (Te Riu o Hokianga team), Lea, R., B. Tipene-Matua, Symes, J. (Rakaipaaka Health and Ancestry Study). 2008. Scientific collaborative research with Māori communities: Kaupapa or kūpapa Māori? AlterNative. An International Journal of Indigenous Scholarship, Special Supplement, 3(2): 60–81.Google Scholar
  2. Aksoy, S. and A. Tenik. 2002. The “four principles of bioethics” as found in the 13th century Muslim scholar Malwana’s teachings. BMC Medical Ethics, 3(4): Available at Downloaded on 24 May 2004.
  3. Anderson, I., Griew, R., and D. McAullay. 2003. Ethics guidelines, health research and Indigenous Australians. New Zealand Bioethics Journal 20–29.Google Scholar
  4. Bishop, R., and T. Glynn. 1999. Culture counts: changing power relations in education. Palmerston North: Dunmore.Google Scholar
  5. Cram, F. 2001. Rangahau Maori: Tona tika, tona pono — The validity and integrity of Maori researchers. In M. Tolich (Ed.), Research ethics in Aotearoa New Zealand (pp. 35–52). Auckland, New Zealand: Longman.Google Scholar
  6. Cram, F. 2003. Preliminary discussions with Maori key informants: report to the National Ethics Advisory Committee. Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Health.Google Scholar
  7. Cunningham, C.W. 2000. A framework for addressing Maori knowledge in research, science and technology. Pacific Health Dialog, 7(1): 62–69.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Durie, M. 1994. Whaiora: Maori health development (2nd ed.). Auckaland, N.Z: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Durie, A. 1998. Me tipu ake te pono: Maori research, ethicality and development. Te Oru Rangahau: Maori Research and Development Conference Proceedings: 257–263. Palmerston North, School of Māori Studies. Massey University.Google Scholar
  10. Durie, E.T.J., Temm, P.B., Wilson, W.M., and S. Kenderdine. 1989. New Zealand Law Society seminar: the Treaty of Waitangi. Wellington N.Z: The Society.Google Scholar
  11. Ermine, W., Sinclair, R., and B. Jeffery. 2004. The ethics of research involving Indigenous peoples. Report of the Indigenous Peoples Health Research Centre to the Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics. Saskatoon, Canada: Indigenous Peoples Health Research Centre.Google Scholar
  12. Glynn, T. 1992. From pause prompt praise to tatari tautoko tauawhi: A bicultural process of adaptation. A paper presented to the AARE/NZARE Joint Conference, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia. 22–26 November.Google Scholar
  13. Glynn, T., and R. Bishop. 1995. Cultural issues in educational research: a New Zealand perspective. He Pukenga Kōrero: A Journal of Māori Studies 1(1): 37–43.Google Scholar
  14. Health Research Council of New Zealand. 2002. Guidelines on ethics in health research, available at Downloaded 5 May 2008.
  15. Health Research Council of New Zealand. 2005. Guidelines on Pacific health research. Auckland, N.Z: Health Research Council of New Zealand.Google Scholar
  16. Health Research Council of New Zealand. 2008. Guidelines for researchers on health research involving Maori. Available at Downloaded 5 May 2008.
  17. Hepi, M., Foote, J., Marino, M., Rogers, M., and H. Taimona. 2007. Koe wai hoki koe?!, or Who are you?!: issues of trust in cross-cultural collaborative research. Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online 2: 37–53.Google Scholar
  18. Hudson, M. 2004. He matatika Maori: Maori and ethical review of health research. Masters diss, Auckland University of Technology.Google Scholar
  19. Hudson, M.L., Ahuriri-Driscoll, A.L.M., Lea, M.G., and R.A. Lea. 2007. Whakapapa: a foundation for genetic research? Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 4(1): 43–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ministry of Health. 2006. Operational standard for ethics committees. Wellington, N.Z: Ministry of Health.Google Scholar
  21. Ministry of Research Science and Technology. 2007. New Zealand research agenda discussion document. Wellington, N.Z.: Ministry of Research, Science and Technology.Google Scholar
  22. Moewaka Barnes, H. 2006. Transforming science: how our structures limit innovation. Social Policy Journal of New Zealand 29: 1–16.Google Scholar
  23. National Health and Medical Research Council. 2003. Values and ethics: Guidelines for ethical conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research.Available Downloaded 27 April 2004. 13
  24. Powick, K. 2002. Nga take matatika mo te mahi rangahau Maori. Maori research ethics: A literature review of the ethical issues and implications of kaupapa Maori research and research involving Maori for researchers, supervisors and ethics committees. Hamilton: School of Education, University of Waikato.Google Scholar
  25. Robson, B. 2002. Mana whakamarama – equal explanatory power: maori and non– Maori sample size in national health surveys. Wellington, N.Z: Ministry of Health.Google Scholar
  26. Robson, R. 2004. Māori framework for ethical review of health and disability research: a scoping report to the National Advisory Committee on Health and Disability Ethics (unpublished). Wellington, N. Z: Ministry of Health.Google Scholar
  27. Robson, B., and P. Reid. 2001. Ethnicity matters. Wellington, N.Z: Statistics New Zealand.Google Scholar
  28. Russell, K. 2004. The three P’s: Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. Unpublished teaching resource, available from Senior Manager Māori. Dunedin, N. Z.: Otago Polytechnic.Google Scholar
  29. Smith, L.T. 2001. Decolonising methodologies: research and Indigenous peoples. Dunedin: University of Otago Press.Google Scholar
  30. Smith, L.T., M. Hudson, S.J. Tiakiwai and M. Hemi. 2008. The negotiated space — Te hau mihi ata: Mātauranga Māori, science and biotechnology. Unpublished paper, available from the researchers. Office of the Pro-Vice Chancellor Maori: University of Waikato.Google Scholar
  31. Sporle, A. and J. Koea. 2004. Maori responsiveness in health and medical research: clarifying the roles of researcher and institution. New Zealand Medical Journal, 117(1199): Available online Accessed 14 Nov 2005.
  32. Te Awekotuku, N. 1991. He tikanga whakaaro. Wellington, N.Z.: Manatu Maori.Google Scholar
  33. Teariki, C., Spoonley, P., and N. Tomoana. 1992. Te whakapakari te mana tangata: the politics and process of research for Māori. Palmerston North: Department of Sociology, Massey University.Google Scholar
  34. Te Puni, K. 1994. Health sector ethics: nga tikanga pono wahanga hauora: mechanisms for Maori into ethical review. Wellington N.Z.: Ministry of Maori Development.Google Scholar
  35. Tolich, M. 2002. Pākehā paralysis: cultural safety for those researching the general population of Aotearoa. Social Policy Journal of New Zealand 19: 164–178.Google Scholar
  36. Tsai, D.F. 1999. Ancient Chinese medical ethics and the four principles of biomedical ethics. Journal of Medical Ethics, 25(4): 315–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Walsh-Tapiata, W. 1998. Research within your own Iwi — What are some of the issues? Te Oru Rangahau: Maori Research and Development Conference Proceedings: 249–256. Palmerston North, School of Māori Studies: Massey University.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kenepuru Science CentreInstitute of Environmental Science and Research Limited (ESR)PoriruaNew Zealand
  2. 2.Otago PolytechnicDunedinNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations