ACSPRI Conferences, RC33 Eighth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

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Kaupapa Māori and the PATH research tool in a post-colonial indigenous context

Kataraina Pipi, Jesse Pirini

Building: Law Building
Room: Breakout 9 - Law Building, Room 102
Date: 2012-07-10 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Last modified: 2012-06-08


In this paper, we will draw on applied research on the application of the Planning Alternatives Tomorrow with Hope (PATH) tool in post colonial indigenous settings relating to control over resources, particularly involving control over delivery of a range of services to communities across New Zealand. We theorise its use as an indigenous methodology using Kaupapa Māori theory and principles as a lense for analysis.

PATH is a process used to facilitate positive action with groups and individuals (Pipi, 2010). A PATH session takes a positive holistic approach to planning. It starts with people visualizing a positive future, then facilitates them analysing where they are currently, leading to a form of SWOT analysis and actions leading to a positive future. PATH uses a unique graphic approach, along with traditional facilitation. The participants and facilitator draw images representing concepts that resonate with them, resulting in a series of images, and a final image that represents their own PATH.

PATH has been used with a range of Māori individuals, and groups at iwi, hapū and whānau level. Examples of issues addressed include dealing with addiction, fundraising, community development and passing on knowledge. Anecdotal evidence supports the use of the PATH process, mainly through verbal feedback from participants and informal case studies that show what people have gone on to do with their PATH

Kaupapa Māori methodology is guided by a Māori worldview, drawing upon indigenous principles and practices for its underlying philosophy. It’s an approach that respects the indigenous culture, and ensures that the research provides value to the participants, and shows respect within their cultural norms.

Using the Kaupapa Māori principles as a primary analytical lense, and drawing on applied research examples of PATH, we will demonstrate that PATH is a valuable research tool in a post-colonial indigenous context. Overall those participating in the PATH process report that it allows them to clarify and express their dreams, engage and consider others, and express their values. In addition the PATH developed by groups has been a motivator and guide to achieving desired goals, as well as a tool used to support traditional written reports and funding requests.