November 9, 2022

ANZEA 2022

Dr Amohia Boulton
ANZEA 2022
Dr Amohia Boulton

In October 2022, Whakauae researchers and evaluators participated in the Aotearoa New Zealand Evaluation Association (ANZEA) Conference 2022 at Te Papa in Wellington. The theme of the conference was Ka mua, Ka muri: Looking back to move forward. For many, it was the first conference they had attended kanohi ki te kanohi since Covid locked us down.


Conference keynote and presentations

Whakauae had quite a presence at the conference, with Whakauae Director, Dr Amohia Boulton providing the first keynote presentation entitled “Ka mua, ka muri, ka mua, ka ako: Reflecting on the past to inform our futures”. You can see more about the featured contributors here.

Speaking to a packed room, Amohia reflected on her 25 years of working in the fields of research and evaluation. She shared what she had learned over the years, what she might have done differently as well as the people and experiences that helped shape her as an evaluator/researcher. Her final commentary was that as we look forward into the unknown future is more important than ever that the skill of evaluative thinking and the theory, practice, and profession of evaluation be nurtured as it is critical for our nation's development.


Lynley Cvitanovic

Whakauae Tangata Tiriti researcher/evaluator, Lynley Cvitanovic also presented the same afternoon. Her session was entitled “From Taumarunui to Whanganui + places in between: 3 challenges encountered by a Pākehā evaluator along the way”. Lynley provided a space for kōrero about what it was like for her as a Pākehā to evaluate with Māori communities. She presented an interactive session to increase awareness of this subject which the participants enjoyed.



From left: Gill, Kiri, and Teresa


On the final day of the conference, Gill Potaka-Osborne, Whakauae researcher/evaluator, and Whakauae sub-contractors, Kiri Parata and Teresa Taylor delivered a presentation entitled “Having skin in the game in Kaupapa Māori Evaluation”. Together, they described their journey, as emerging researchers/evaluators across many research projects and community evaluations undertaken by Whakauae. They acknowledged their indigeneity or having ‘skin in the game' as a major reason they were able to carry out successful evaluations with Māori communities. Their tono (challenge) to other emerging Māori researchers/evaluators was to reflect on their individual Indigenous positioning, what it means to them and how it impacts on their research/evaluation practice. In addition, they recounted how, as wāhine Māori and Kaupapa Māori researchers, it is important to safeguard the mana of those communities, Māori, and non-Māori alike, which in turn safeguards the mana of the researcher/evaluator.   


Emerging researcher/evaluator

Another source of pride was the successful application by Mel Potaka-Osborne (front right), a Whakauae emerging researcher/evaluator, who was awarded an ANZEA scholarship to enable her to attend the conference. She found the presentations valuable and informed her research/evaluation practice. She said the best thing for her was attending the Māori Hui where we met so many young future leaders/evaluators who were unapologetically Māori and showed enthusiasm for embracing new learnings the conference offered.


Connections and reconnections

In addition to the separate fora for Māori, Pasifika, Pākehā, and Tauiwi the ANZEA Conference provided many opportunities for connection and reconnection. An example was a panel presentation featuring experienced Māori evaluators Amohia Boulton, Debbie Goodwin, Fiona Cram, Nan Wehipeihana, and Kataraina Pipi (pictured) who addressed the topic of “Building on the experience of Māori evaluation leaders to create a flourishing Kaupapa Māori evaluation future”. We were pleased to reconnect with these panel members who, at one time or another, had interacted with Whakauae in their research and evaluation capacity.


There were many other great presentations, however, a Ng?i Tahu session particularly piqued our interest. The presentation was led by Darren Beatty (Ng?ti Kahungunu, Te Whānau a Apanui, Ngāti Porou, Te Roroa, Ngāti Hinemanu), Chief Financial Officer with Te Rūnanga o Ng?i Tahu who addressed “Disrupting performance and accountability with evaluative thinking and practice. An iwi initiative to shift mindsets and practices and shine a light on what it means to live by and be accountable to Ng?i Tahu values and principles”. He described how, 25 years post-settlement, the Rūnanga recognised that reporting against KPIs failed to adequately capture the evaluative whānau voice in Ng?i Tahu programmes.  The issue was of particular interest to Whakauae as we explore systems change to make systems work better for Māori. Co-presenter, Patsy Perenara-O'Connell's mother hails from Waverley. Patsy was able to connect with Gill through shared whānau links. Patsy also has whakapapa to Ngā Rauru Kītahi and Tauranga Moana.


Evaluation on the ground

Of course, there were some presentations that will remain with us for a while because of their dynamic content. Jeph Mathias (pictured left) talked to us about his experiences in Columbia, volunteering with Mother Teresa and trapping crocodiles in the Amazon. One of his other presentations was on Participatory Outcome Harvest alongside high-security prisoners in Ōtautahi. During this presentation, he had Johnny and Anaru talk to us via video link about their experiences of participating in this evaluation. Johnny, an ex-inmate, described his involvement in evaluation data collection including interviewing prisoner inmates and staff such as the Christchurch prison manager. Anaru, a reintegration coordinator with Pathways, explained how the evaluation had made an impact on his organisation and provided a voice for those who had been incarcerated.

Another presentation of great interest was delivered by Dr Tony O'Connor who described the challenges he had encountered in gaining ethics approval for different evaluation projects. Entitled “Ethics Review and Community-based Practice” he sold us on his solution to wordy academic information sheets and consent forms using graphics and everyday language. We were really interested in a simple form he had developed that was more engaging for Māori. We have already incorporated similar graphics in consent forms developed for use in a current research project.

Download the file
Go Back