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Indigenous positioning in health research: The importance of Kaupapa Māori theory-informed practice

Elana Curtis


Understanding how to undertake Kaupapa Māori research can be a challenge for emerging health researchers. Unless emerging researchers have exposure to Kaupapa Māori theory or senior Māori health research expertise, the challenge of undertaking Kaupapa Māori research within health research contexts can seem daunting, and for some, too difficult to attempt. This article summarizes what an Indigenous positioning means to me as a health researcher, medical practi­tioner, academic and Māori community member, and why it is more than just a methodological approach. The theoretical basis of Kaupapa Māori—what it is, how it emerged and what it means for my own research practice—is explored. How Kaupapa Māori interacts with Pacific research methodologies, particularly when health research involves both Māori and Pacific participants, is discussed. It is hoped that this article will assist emerging researchers (both Indigenous and non-Indigenous) to embrace Indigenous-appropriate research approaches within their own work.

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Print ISSN 1177-1801 Online ISSN 1174-1740