He Kāinga Pai Rawa: Building community-university research partnerships

Yvonne Wilson & Sophie Nock - IIRC20
Friday, November 20, 2020

Background: Māori home ownership has dropped at a time when Māori birth rates are increasing. These downward rates of Māori and kaumātua home ownership put pressure on both kaumātua and whānau in terms of resources. Such pressure is evident in rising rates of Māori living in overcrowded, temporary, and poor housing and over-representation of Māori in waiting lists for social housing and as tenants of social housing. To address these various challenges and problems, a number of Māori organisations and iwi/hapu have sought to develop their own housing solutions to meet their communities’ needs. Other Māori organisations and iwi/hapu could benefit from the learnings developed through the building process to better understand the needs and aspirations of their own communities in order to help buildand contribute to vibrant and thriving communities.

Utilising the toolkit developed in our previous research, He Kainga Pai Rawa (2017-2019) this study aims to develop research capacity of three Māori organisations in order to document the processes and outcomes of the housing villages they are building. A key outcome will be a revised toolkit and various forms of evidence for Māori organisations and iwi/hapu that describe a process for achieving housing villages that contribute to thriving communities.

Research Design and Methods: The research involves a long-standing collaborative partnership among Te Rūnanga o Kirikiriroa (develops kaumātua and intergenerational housing), Rauawaawa Kaumātua Charitable Trust (kaumātua services provider), and The University of Waikato, who together studied a successful kaumātua housing village. These three partners will “walk alongside” three community organisations to guide the development and building of a housing village. The research team will also support at least one community researcher from each organisation to systematically study and document the challenges and successes along the building process.

The research methodology is guided by Kaupapa Māori and He Pikinga Waiora Implementation Framework (HPW) and emphasises self-determination and mātauranga Māori. HPW utilises co-design, co-implementation and co-evaluation of interventions with communities and end users. HPW is firstly grounded in kaupapa Māori and mātauranga Māori, coupled with the transformational approach of strong community engagement. Secondly HPW involves co-design from start to finish, with Māori communities having agency and influence throughout the research process. Thirdly, HPW includes systems thinking to actively engage and work through complex issues associated with housing challenges. Finally, because various end users are involved early and throughout the research process, HPW increases the likelihood of implementation effectiveness and sustainability.

This paper reports on the initial phase of the study and in particular developing relationships between the Māori community organisations that are each constructing a kaumātua/intergenerational village and the University-Community research team. Key themes will be presented at the conference

Implications: We anticipate the relationships to be fundamental to the research outcomes. We also expect the project to have a direct impact in physical builds and outcomes that enhance hauora and mana motuhake at individual, whānau and community levels. This is a crucial element of integrated knowledge translation and supporting research-to-practice aspirations.