World first research partnership takes shape for Maori targeting social policy change
New Zealand Maori Council has today announced a strategic research partnership with Massey University and its Centre for Culture-Centred Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE). The partnership will see the joint development and co-design of evaluation frameworks around key areas of social policy and developing the evidence base to support Council when it comes to challenges facing Maori, Whanau and Communities across the nation.
Sir Taihakurei Durie has welcomed the partnership as a new era in Maori Council direction as it plots its course around social and economic policy leadership and development:
“We all know the challenges our people face and many of the models that are currently out there from corrections and justice to health, education, housing and more are just not working. In many cases the models are just not fit for purpose and often fail to take into account who Maori families and communities live and operate.” He said
“This is recognized in the hundreds of people and organisations that are currently participating in the Health Claims before the Waitangi Tribunal.” He went on to say.
“The reality is we need to find new and creative ways of doing things, we need to innovate and we also need to not only lead the design of services for Maori we need to ensure we have evidence and evaluation frameworks sitting at the center.” He said
New Zealand Maori Council has implemented a new structure of policy development through the creation of “ground up” social policy portfolios inclusive of Maori from across the nation with both lived and professional experience.
Maori Council Executive Member, and Chair of the National Maori Authority, Matthew Tukaki has said that research and evidence based frameworks that re co-designed need to be inclusive:
“I have learnt over a long period of time that unless Maori are sitting at the table and leading the design discussion we end up in the same old circle of failure – the same old data and the same old trends getting worse. We needed to reset the agenda and send a clear message that Maori services designed by Maori, led by Maori, for Maori achieving success for Maori is always the only way to go.”
Professor Mohan Dutta from CARE has heralded the partnership as a turning point in how social policy is developed and its not in isolation to the very people its intended to support:
“Experiences of political, economic, and social disenfranchisement are often rooted in the lack of recognition of communities as decision-makers. The ongoing work of CARE with poverty across the globe documents the ways in which the exclusion of communities living in poverty from spaces of decision-making and the systematic erasure of community voices underpin policies that reproduce inequities in a wide range of outcomes. These strategies of erasure are often embedded in overarching stereotypical assumptions, norms, and everyday practices of policy making and implementation that undermine community voices. Through community-grounded partnerships that place community voices at the center of decision-making, CARE builds culturally situated democratic structures of community participation, which in turn shape the development of solutions identified as meaningful and owned by community members. Evaluative frameworks developed through the participation of community voices are owned by communities, are anchored in cultural stories, are shaped by the everyday challenges experienced by community members, and are engaged in ongoing conversations with evidence.
CARE is excited to partner with the Maori Council to co-develop community-grounded frameworks for designing and evaluating solutions that are embedded in Maori community life. The disproportionately high burdens of poverty, incarceration, inaccess to justice systems, inaccess to culturally grounded educational opportunities, inaccess to decent food, inaccess to decent housing, inaccess to employment opportunities, inaccess to health services, and inaccess to support services experienced by Maori communities offer opportunities for building transformative co-creation processes and evaluative designs that emerge from community voices.”