Particular aspects of research and practice of Rongoā Māori have created discussion and in some instances, dissension among Māori communities. Research frameworks such as Kaupapa Māori theory (Pihama, 2010) have been developed for Māori communities, but these do not specifically address the many layers and complexities of research on Rongoā Māori.
This seeding grant will be used to consult with selected experts to gain an understanding of the myriad issues involved in undertaking Rongoā research projects in a manner that ensures the integrity of the research for the benefit of Rongoā Māori and for Māori people. This seeding grant will ask three questions as a basis for developing research guidelines and a Rongoā Māori research programme.
What are the cultural, ethical, research, legal and scientific (CERLS) issues that are inherent in research on Rongoā Māori plants and healing?
What are effective strategies to address each of these issues appropriately?
From your perspective and experience, how do you think future research should be conducted on Rongoā Māori plants and healing?
Debate about the misappropriation of information and knowledge in research means that greater care and attention is needed regarding Māori input and participation into research. This is even more important in the area of Rongoā Māori where matters such as inappropriate usage, intellectual property rights and commercialisation of information are of significant concern. Previous research has focused on comprehensive consultation with Māori healers about issues relating to the sustainability of rongoā and similar concerns were raised (Ahuriri-Driscoll, Baker, Hepi, Hudson, 2009).
This grant will focus specifically on exploring the multi-faceted and sensitive issues involved in future Rongoā Māori research. Four representative groups with expertise in the practice, research, legal and science aspects of Rongoā will be consulted individually and then collectively. Three meetings with these experts will be held; the first will focus on identifying the issues that Rongoā Māori research raises for each field of expertise and determining strategies for addressing these issues.
At the second meeting participants will comment on the summary of the first meeting and verify the content. Participants will then be asked how they think future research about Rongoā Māori should be conducted and how that is best managed to align with the strategies identified during meeting one. At a final consultation meeting involving all groups the combined results of the consultations will be presented. Participants will then be asked to give feedback on the cultural, ethical, research, legal and scientific (CERLS) framework for addressing issues on future Rongoā Māori research.
The information gathered in this study will be used to develop the wider research framework, which in turn will underpin the development of a full research programme plan on Rongoā Māori.