Kaupapa Mäori Research, Supervision and Uncertainty: “What’s a Päkehä Fella to Do?”

  • Clive C. Pope
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 34)


In Aotearoa New Zealand, we have seen a welcome burgeoning of researchers and graduate students adopting Kaupapa Mäori as a preferred methodology. Over recent years, appropriate ways to conduct research with Mäori and within Mäori communities have evolved. As a supervisor working within an institution where Kaupapa Mäori has established a high profile, I have found myself in the role of supervisor to several Mäori students. Furthermore, as a Päkehä New Zealander I have in recent years, discovered myself standing on tricky ground, learning and appreciating this methodology and its associated world view. How can a white, male, middle-class supervisor contribute to the conduct of Kaupapa Mäori and the growth of Mäori graduate students? Such an experience has revealed a different way of knowing, far removed from the “colonial gaze” that has marked much of my own research. Grant (2005) has recently described the act of supervision as an uncertain practice marked by a plethora of contradictory and competing discourses. Between such discourses are spaces that Linda Tuhiwai Smith (2005) has termed “tricky ground”. Such a term is pertinent because it highlights the complexity, uncertainty and shifting nature of not only the ground upon which researchers work, but also the individuals and communities who perform the research, the epistemologies and understandings they hold, the practices they indulge in and the effects such research can have on the participants. Russell Bishop (1996) has argued that storytelling is a culturally appropriate way of empowering participants and I will employ this strategy to share my experiences as a supervisor working on tricky ground.

Aotearoa New Zealand Kaupapa Mäori methodology Mäori community Research supervision and challenge Tricky ground Different ways of knowing Storytelling Empowerment 


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© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clive C. Pope
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sport & Leisure StudiesUniversity of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand

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