Gerald Taiaiake Alfred is a Full Professor in IGOV and in the Department of Political Science. He specializes in studies of traditional governance, the restoration of land-based cultural practices, and decolonization strategies. He is a prominent Indigenous intellectual and advisor to many First Nation governments and organizations. He has been awarded a Canada Research Chair, a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in the field of education, and the Native American Journalists Association award for best column writing.
Karina L. Walters is a Professor and William P. and Ruth Gerberding Endowed Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Washington. She received her MSW (1990) and PhD (1995) from University of California, Los Angeles. An enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Dr. Walters founded and directs the University-wide, interdisciplinary Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI).
The Ka Awatea project was carried out in Te Arawa as well as with and by Te Arawa, but not exclusively for Te Arawa. The project considers the imperatives of success from a Te Arawa worldview, referencing tribal icons as exemplars on which to base a hypothesis.
Whilst various government statements have stipulated that Māori students should experience success ‘as Māori’, it appears that few, if any, have explained what this might look like for rangatahi, their teachers, whānau and communities.
Māori are more likely to be assessed and treated by a health practitioner trained within a western cultural system that pays little attention to Māori worldviews and continue to experience misdiagnosis, non-voluntary admissions, inappropriate psychometric testing, high suicide rates, limited choices, differences in medication regimes and poorer treatment outcomes.
For many years indigenous knowledge has been considered incompatible with western science, mainly due to the differences in knowledge inquiry and transfer, as well as more fundamental beliefs about the inseparable nature of material and non-material aspects of the universe held by the former. Increasingly however, commonalities between the two are being recognised. Both scientists and indigenous knowledge holders, and in particular practitioners, are beginning to work with each other.
Associate Professors Poia Rewi and Rawinia Higgins speak about their research programme, Te Kura Roa, at the launch of the second book in the Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga edited collection; The Value of the Māori Language: Te Hua o Te Reo Māori, published by Huia publishers, and edited by Associate Professors Higgins and Rewi, and Vincent Olsen-Reeder.