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The method can be described as the actual tools you use to deploy your research and methodology. The methods that you use will be dictated to a large extent by the methodology that you are using in your research and the overall aims of your research.

Kaupapa Māori uses a number of quantitative and qualitative research methods that are also commonly used within other methodologies. It is important however, to consider how the method you choose to use fits within the cultural context and the principles of Kaupapa Māori research.

Whakawhanaungatanga “the process of establishing whānau relationships, literally by means of identifying, through culturally appropriate means, your bodily linkage, your engagement, your connectedness, and therefore, an unspoken but implicit commitment to other people” (Bishop, 1988, p. 203).


Usually interpreted as ‘love’, in the context of research it relates to the notion of ‘respect’. According to Smith “the “p’s and q’s” of etiquette specific to cultural, gender and class groups and subgroups (Smith, 2005, p. 102).

Kānohi Kitea

Is about meeting with people face to face. “Kānohi ki te kānohi is regarded within Māori communities as critical when one has an important “take” or purpose. This form of consultation allows the people in the community to use all their senses as complementary sources of information for assessing and evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of becoming involved” (Cram and Pipi, 2000).

Manaaki Tangata

“Manaaki ki te tangata is about taking a collaborative approach to research, research training, and reciprocity. Manaaki ki te tangata reinforces the view that research must be a collaborative and reciprocal process. It acknowledges that learning and expertise exist in both parties. In addition, the researchers’ obligations may extend beyond the immediate project” (ibid.).


Refers to power, dignity and pride. “Māori researchers carry the responsibility to ensure that they help lift the mana of Māori” (ibid.) It is always important that your research practices account for the maintenance and care of participant’s mana. “Kaua e takahia te mana o te tangata means" ‘Do not trample the mana of the people.’ This is about sounding out ideas with people, about disseminating research findings, and about community feedback that keeps people informed about the research process and the findings.”


“This is about finding ways to share knowledge, to be generous with knowledge without being a “show off” or being arrogant. Sharing knowledge is about empowering a process, but the community has to empower itself” (cit. Smith, p. 102).


Can be understood as guidelines around what is ‘right’. It can also be described as rules, methods, approaches, custom, habbits, rights, authority and control (Pere, 1988).

Further Reading

Bishop, Russell (1996) Collaborative research stories: Whakawhanaungatanga. Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.

Smith, Linda (2005) – On Tricky Ground: Researching the Native in the Age of Uncertainty in The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research the Third Edition, Norman Denzin, Yvonna Lincoln (eds.), Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Mead, Hirini (2003) Tikanga Māori: Living by Māori Values, Wellington: Huia Publishers.

Pere, Rangimarie Rose (1994) Ako: Concepts and Learning in the Māori Tradition, Wellington: Kohanga Reo National Trust

Smith, Linda (1999) Decolonizing Methodologies: research and Indigenous Peoples, London: Zed Books.

The list above is not exhaustive but demonstrates a need for cultural awareness by the researcher. Each of the methods chosen for the research should consider these ethical values and how they can be interpreted in research practices. In addition to these values listed above, consideration of the principles of Kaupapa Māori should also be taken into account when choosing methods for research.

There is also a large body of literature dedicated to research methods that highlight the uses, limitations and implications of different methods. The methods that have been listed here are only a small sample of a larger group of methods that can be used. Only a small summary of each method is given here, which is why it is useful to seek further information on any methods that you intend to use.


Kia Tūpato!

Kia āta haere: Tread carefully. Research method is not merely a technical activity, neither can cultural considerations be check listed through a text book. Conducting research is complicated, intricate and sensitive!!! Be careful how you consider methodological issues. Empowerment of Māori people and culture however, is an important component of Kaupapa Māori theory and therefore needs to be considered carefully when choosing Māori methods.