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The Role of Relationships, Respect, and Self-determination in Creating Equitable Research Partnerships: The Case of Revitalise Te Taiao

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posted on 2024-06-21, 03:54 authored by Roxanne HenwoodRoxanne Henwood, Oriwa TamahouOriwa Tamahou, Heather Collins, James TurnerJames Turner, Simon Stokes
Forming equitable research partnerships is a well-known challenge, particularly when some partners are indigenous and others have a colonizing heritage of exercising power over others. Our work looked at how a project approach led by shared values of relationships, respect, and self-determination can increase equity in research partnerships, creating a situation where power is 'with' all partners involved. The context of this study is the two-year Revitalise te Taiao program, focused on improving te Taiao (the natural environment and its interconnections with living beings) in Aotearoa New Zealand. This paper focuses on how a wānanga (conference/educational seminar guided by indigenous principles) within the program expressed relationships, respect, and self- determination and enabled equity. Through the emphasis on relationships, respect, and self-determination, the Wānanga foregrounded indigenous voices and perspectives and made space for all participants to contribute, share, and be heard. This enabled vulnerable and authentic discussions about the process and impact of colonization in Aotearoa-New Zealand, and how we respond to this today. While contention strategies, such as protests and media engagement, are established methods to minimize power differences between low and high-power groups, we propose that this can also happen through higher-power stakeholders, like research organizations, prioritizing values of relationships, respect, and self-determination in partnerships. Following these values can provide a way to limit power 'over' partners and ensure power is 'with' all partners involved. This study also indicates potential practical steps that research partners can take when forming and working in research partnerships. These include early consideration of relationships, respect, and self-determination and what they mean to all involved when planning partnership events.


Funded by the New Zealand Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment's Our Land and Water National Science Challenge (Toitū te Whenua, Toiora te Wai) as part of project Revitalise Te Taiao


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  • English

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Journal title

Social Innovations Journal

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