Kāpo Māori Counter Narratives: Transformative Research Practice

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 11:15 AM
Room: Booth 46
Oral Presentation
Hazel PHILLIPS , Ngati Kapo o Aotearoa, Wellington, New Zealand
Nancy HIGGINS , Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind, New Zealand
Chrissie COWAN , Ngati Kapo o Aotearoa, New Zealand
Hannah PASCOE , Ngati Kapo o Aotearoa, New Zealand
Recently a research paper on the eye conditions of Māori children was published in New Zealand. The paper sensationalized the reasons for non accidental eye injuries by highlighting the role physical abuse plays in vision loss and blindness in Māori children which in turn was picked up by the media. Not surprisingly, the kāpo (blind and vision impaired) Māori community was not only unhappy with the authors’ conclusions but also with the way the ‘story’ was covered in the media. The community’s view was that this was another example of ‘Māori bashing’ that could potentially undermine kāpo Māori whānau engagement with science.  The twin aims of this presentation are to: 1) critically reflect on the methodological implications of doing research bereft of its socio-political and cultural contexts and undertaken by ‘outsider’ researchers who persist in deficit theorizing to present a ‘standard story’ of Māori and disability; and 2) argue for a kāpo Māori by kāpo Māori approach to research that leads to socio-politically and culturally nuanced readings and understandings of the issues that face kāpo Māori and their whānau. We do this by discussing the methodology and outcomes of the recently completed research project ‘Growing up kāpo Māori: accessing paediatric ophthalmology services’. This project provides a counter narrative to the standard story and as such is more likely to transform social spaces and health practices.