A kaupapa Māori literature review of cannabis and methamphetamine use experiences of Māori

Pae Ora

Pātai Mauri

Project supervisor: Dr Erena Wikaire

Institution: Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi

Raumati intern: Te Hirea Doherty (Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāpuhi)

Project Summary: This project involved conducting a Kaupapa Māori literature review focused on cannabis and methamphetamine use in Aotearoa - with a focus on Māori. This internship contributed to a larger postdoctoral research fellowship project: a kaupapa Māori analysis of Māori experiences of cannabis and methamphetamine use. An increasing concern within Māori communities; it is important to canvass what is known in terms of cannabis and methamphetamine use within Māori spaces. Despite calls for the treatment of drug use and addiction as a health concern, preliminary investigation has identified that these issues continue to be addressed as criminal justice problems, and this is hindering realistic solutions. The literature review provides important information about how the literature frames and talks about this kaupapa, and what implications this has for Māori.

Project output: A journal article has been submitted for publication: Cannabis and methamphetamine in New Zealand: A Kaupapa Māori literature review.


Aim: This literature review aims to identify and critique through a kaupapa Māori lens, the current knowledge base related to Māori experiences of cannabis and methamphetamine use. Method: A kaupapa Māori research methodological approach was utilised to review literature about cannabis and methamphetamine use through a Māori perspective in New Zealand. Literature contents were categorised via publication type, group focus, substance focus, research approach, methods used, and whether personal voices were centralised. Substance engagement was categorised within prevention, use or treatment contexts. Results: Thirty literature sources were included in this review. Majority were journal articles, utilised quantitative survey data collection methods, were led by non-Māori researchers, and focused on individual characteristics of users of cannabis and / or methamphetamine. Most articles took a general population approach, briefly mentioning Māori, or measured differences in drug use between Māori and others. More recent research led by Māori, or with a critical lens highlights the value of focusing on drug use, rather than drug users. Conclusions: Understandings of cannabis and methamphetamine use in New Zealand are reliant on research insights and academic literature. The present knowledge base focuses mainly on individuals, fuels negative stereotypes of Māori and lacks critical kaupapa Māori insights.

Intern Reflections:

This opportunity really allowed me to fine tune my writing skills and learn how to conduct a systematic search process, this learning has really helped me along my own educational pursuits in Medical School. I have also learnt how to review articles in a way that is both critical and analytical. Working under Dr. Wikaire I have also learnt to voice my opinions onto paper and learn to slowly think about my opinions on different matters. All in all, it has been a very insightful experience. Te Hirea Doherty

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Project completed