November 29, 2022

2022 Winter Studentship Reflection - Ema Tu'akoi: Capacity and Capability Building of the Māori Research Workforce

2022 Winter Studentship Reflection - Ema Tu'akoi: Capacity and Capability Building of the Māori Research Workforce

Tēnā koutou.

My studentship with Whakauae Research Services required the completion of a literature review, which included an annotated bibliography, thematic analysis, and a written final report of the findings in relation to the research question.

Existing literature leads us to believe that the percentage of Māori within the research workforce has remained low and stagnant within the past decade. This literature review aimed to explore the ways in which Māori skills, knowledge and comprehension of research are being expanded upon, and how these factors may or may not lead into a career of research.

The main findings outlined whanaungatanga, ethnic-specific equity programmes and support services, and non-Māori support and allyship as fundamental for building Māori capacity and capability in the research workforce. In the absence of Māori-specific research that answered our research question, I decided to turn to our Indigenous whanaunga around the world for their scholarship. Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders from Australia, and First Nations people from Canada provided invaluable insights into the ways in which capacity and capability building work, and areas that could be improved – ways that are transferable into our context as Māori.

Throughout this studentship, I was overwhelmed with the awhi and tautoko that I received from the entire team. How fitting is it that, as I researched this topic, my own capacity and capability was being built. For many reasons, prior to attending the University of Auckland – Waipapa Taumata Rau, my secondary school experience was anything but typical. As someone who had never considered myself as an academic, I sure would have never considered myself as a researcher either. I am confident that the skills that I have grown and developed throughout my short time with Whakauae, will stay with me throughout the rest of my academic haerenga.

I'd like to express my deepest gratitude to my supervisor, Dr. Tanya Allport. Ngā mihi nunui ki a koe mō tō tautoko, me tō mahi katoa. To the wider Whakauae team, thank you for this amazing opportunity and for welcoming me into your space. Lastly, a huge thank you to Dr. Lara Greaves, without whom I might never have seized this opportunity. What an honour it is to be surrounded by excellent Māori researchers, academics and scholars.

To close, I'd like to share the famous war cry of my tipuna, Te Roro-o-te-Rangi, at the battle of Tawharakurupeti:

“Ruia taitea, kia tū ko taikākā anake!”.

This is often translated as “Strip away the sapwood so that the heartwood stands alone!”.

To me, this whakataukī serves as a reminder that regardless of our small numbers and the inequities we may face, we must always stand strong in our Māoritanga.

Tēnā tātou.  

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