All those being culturally responsive and appropriate please sit down!

Decolonisation is about the decentring of whiteness as the owners of the world forever

W.E.B. Du Bois, 1920

… even talk about cultural responsiveness can overlook and ignore the history of colonisation experienced by many Indigenous peoples and the consequent need to challenge racism and recognise indigenous sovereignty (Cram & Mertens, 2016).

In my experience, what works is research and evaluative practices that allow Indigenous issues, concerns, ways of understanding and practice to be placed at the centre. In particular, research should focus on strengthening whānau health and wellbeing that is context-sensitive, promotes social justice and enhances the life circumstances of community.

I would like to see is a shift from consultation with Māori using kupu like “being responsive and appropriate,” which I see written time and time again in organisational documentation and strategic plans, towards practices and policies that are accountable to Māori –

Accountability to Māori means shared power relationships

Reciprocal and responsive relationships, where Māori are at the table at the very least 50/50.

I want to see a health system that is embedded in practices of cultural safety, and where the effectiveness and success of service provision are based on whānau experience.

We need to move away from the business commercialisation and compartmentalisation of health and towards the relationships of health – whakawhanaungatanga – relational practice.


Published by Tākuta Teah

Indigenous woman, partner, māmā, sister, daughter, aunty, artist, story catcher/teller, researcher, evaluator and academic. I draw on these identities to express, connect and articulate kotahitanga, mana motuhake and aroha.

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