Kaupapa Māori as Research

In addition to the Kaupapa Māori principles, Linda Tuhiwai Smith (1997) outlined some working principles specifically for the purposes of research based on the principles identified above.

These principles are:

Whakapapa – The Principle of Whakapapa

Whakapapa which is defined generally as being ‘genealogy’, also encapsulates the way in which Māori view the world. It is a way of thinking, of learning and storing and debating knowledge. In terms of Kaupapa Māori research whakapapa is integral as it allows for the positioning and contextualising relationships between people, communities, participants, landscape, and the universe as a whole.

Te Reo – The Principle of Te Reo

Te Reo Māori is integral to Kaupapa Māori; the Māori world view is embedded in the language. The way in which we communicate using Te Reo Māori provides an insight into the way we interact with the world and the way in which we build and maintain relationships.

Tīkanga Maori – The Principle of Tikanga Maori

Tīkanga Māori refers to customary practices, ethics, cultural behaviours, considerations and obligations. Tīkanga Māori is important in order to enable us to appropriately navigate and operate within a Māori context, and make judgements and decisions within this space.

Rangatiratanga – The Principle of Rangatiratanga

Rangatiratanga is related to the Principle of Tino Rangatiratanga. The notion of Rangatiratanga, or autonomy, is also relevant in the research process in terms of allowing Māori to shape their own research processes. L Smith (1996, pp. 217-218) has identified some critical questions that need to be posed to Māori communities and researchers that will allow greater control and autonomy over the research process accessible by Māori. These are:

  • What research do we want to carry out?
  • Who is that research for?
  • What difference will it make?
  • Who will carry out this research?
  • How do we want the research to be done?
  • How will we know it is a worthwhile piece of research?
  • Who will own the research?
  • Who will benefit?

Whānau (II) – The Principle of Whānau II


For more information about Kaupapa Māori research see www.kaupapamaori.com