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“an intellectual ‘disconnect’ between Māori forms of knowledge and much academic research”

December 23, 2012

“When academic researchers gather data in the course of their research with Māori communities, they are actively engaging with different systems of cultural meaning. However while the information they seek is located within the cultural logic of Māori communities, the way in which they collect, structure and interpret data is directly mediated by the mores and conventions of their disciplinary field. That different groups have their own way of organising knowledge is hardly surprising news. Researchers working inside practically any community are aware that different groups have their own ways of thinking about the world which do not necessarily correspond with the systems and deep structures of world-views within academic disciplines. What is surprising is that in New Zealand there are many academic researchers who are deeply reluctant to incorporate academic inquiry with Māori cultural meanings and knowledge. As a result, there is today, an intellectual ‘disconnect’ between Māori forms of knowledge and much academic research.” (p.45)

“The enduring silences surrounding Māori cultural knowledge and history within the academy have, over time, effectively slowed the creation of new forms of knowledge, and generated an intellectual timidity which is passed from academic generation to academic generation. To comprehend the ways in which academic disciplines mediate (or fail to mediate) the production of knowledge and research outcomes with regard to Māori communities, we must first understand how academic knowledge is shaped and produced in New Zealand. From there we can begin to explore the silences that befall so many intellectuals and academics when they come into contact with Māori knowledge. If collaborative research is to take place, the silences inherent within the mediating structure of academic disciplines, need to be properly addressed.” (p.46)

Ref: Joanna Kidman (2007)  Engaging with Māori Communities: An Exploration of some tensions in the mediation of Social Sciences Research. A Monograph produced in the Tihei Oreore Series for Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (Series Editor J S Te Rito). He Pārekereke: Victoria University of Wellington.

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