Aotearoa Indigenous Voices: Data, Research and Policy

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In this seminar from the ‘Speaking Out Series’ hear from three researchers from across disciplines at the interface of Indigenous research.

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In this second seminar in the ‘Speaking Out Series’ hear from three researchers from across disciplines at the interface of Indigenous research and practice in Aotearoa. The panellists will each provide an overview of their research on the role of Indigenous and Pacific knowledge and expertise in policy making and science, as well as the impact of structural racism in the university sector. This will be followed by a Q&A session to explore the interconnected themes in the panelists work.

The Australasian Cities Research Network (ACRN) 'Speaking Out Series' focuses on the ways in which urban research can work to:

  • inform urban policy / practice
  • contribute to public debate / social movements, and/or
  • support / drive sustainability-led change.

An explicit part of the ACRN agenda across the seminar series is rendering more visible and making more explicit the many ways in which urban policies and practices are inextricably entangled with questions of Indigenous sovereignty, environmental crises, and social equity.


Tara McAllister (Te Aitanga a Māhaki, Ngāti Porou) is a Research Fellow at Te Pūnaha Matatini and the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland in Aotearoa. Tara completed her PhD in Water Resource Management from the University of Canterbury in 2018. Her PhD focused on the ecology of toxic, benthic cyanobacteria and advanced global understandings on how various environmental factors affect its growth. Tara’s most recent research has focused on highlighting the inequities that Māori face in higher education. Her impactful research has provided quantitative evidence that Māori are underrepresented and underpaid in academia.

Dr Sereana Naepi’s (Naitasiri) work uses multiple approaches to explore how universities and wider research sectors can become places that embrace all learners, esteem all knowledges and serve all communities. She draws on qualitative and quantitative methods, works collaboratively internationally and nationally in order to challenge the very basis of how we construct knowledge and how this shapes universities and our research sectors. Her research branches out into multiple disciplines in order to maximize impact across the academy. The values of relationship and service are foundational to her research approach.

Tahu Kukutai (Ngāti Tiipa, Ngāti Kinohaku, Te Aupōuri) is Professor of Demography at the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis, The University of Waikato in Aotearoa New Zealand. Tahu specialises in Māori and indigenous demographic research and has written extensively on issues of Māori population change, official statistics, and ethnic and racial classification. Tahu is a founding member of the Māori Data Sovereignty Network Te Mana Raraunga and the Global Indigenous Data Alliance. She co-edited Indigenous data sovereignty: Toward an agenda (ANU Press, 2016) and Indigenous data sovereignty and policy (Routledge, 2020). Tahu has undertaken research with and for numerous iwi (tribes), Māori communities, and Government agencies, and provided strategic advice across a range of sectors. She is a member of the Chief Science Advisor Forum and a technical advisor to the data leadership group of the Iwi Chairs (tribal leaders) Forum. She was previously a journalist.

Mihi Whakatau (a welcome acknowledgement): Whetu Taukamo (University of Waikato)

Chairs: Professor Iain White (University of Waikato) and Dr Ash Alam (University of Otago)

Reading list:

Kukutai, T., McIntosh, T., Durie, M., Boulton, A., Foster, M., Hutchings, J., Mark-Shadbolt, M., Moewaka Barnes, H., Moko-Mead, T., Paine, S., Pitama, S. & Ruru, J. (2021). Te Pūtahitanga: A Tiriti-led science-policy approach for Aotearoa New Zealand. Auckland: Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga.

McAllister, T. G., Kidman, J., Rowley, O., & Theodore, R. F. (2019). Why isn't my professor Māori? A snapshot of the academic workforce in new zealand universities. Mai Journal, 8, 235-249.

Naepi, S. (2019). Why isn’t my professor Pasifika. Mai Journal, 8(2), 219-234.

McAllister, T. G., Kokaua, J., Naepi, S., Kidman, J., & Theodore, R. (2020). Glass ceilings in New Zealand universities. MAI Journal: A New Zealand Journal of Indigenous Scholarship, 9(3), 272-285.

Walter, M., Kukutai, T., Carroll, S. R., & Rodriguez-Lonebear, D. (2020). Indigenous Data Sovereignty and Policy (p. 244). Taylor & Francis

Kukutai, T., & Taylor, J. (2016). Indigenous data sovereignty: Toward an agenda. ANU Press

Ruru, J., & Nikora, L. W. (2021). Ngā Kete Mātauranga. Māori scholars at the research interface. Otago University Press.

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