John Leonard, Ihi Research

John Leonard, Chief Executive of Ihi Research, talks about working with Rātā Foundation to develop a kaupapa Māori approach to engage with and understand the aspirations of whānau, hapū and iwi.

He says there are many benefits to having a kaupapa Māori approach for both Rātā Foundation and the wider Māori community.

“Kaupapa Māori recognises self-determination. It means that there is an awareness and appreciation of cultural difference and recognising that Māori know what the issues are, what the solutions are, and what the opportunities are,” he says.

There were a number of opportunities identified in the research to guide the kaimahi at Rātā to strengthen their relationship with Māori communities.

“One of the key findings was the importance of relationships; it was evident that any relationships will precede any applications received by Rātā,” he says.

“It’s really important that whānaungatanga happens, that Rātā kaimahi are out in the community, meeting with Māori, so that the community knows who they are.”

He says growing whakawhanaungatanga with Māori will lead to a greater number of applications for kaupapa-led projects and initiatives which will benefit the wider community.

“It is also important to our Māori community that the people looking at those applications have some cultural capability and knowledge to understand the needs and aspirations of whānau. It is really vital they are viewed with eyes which understand Māori has a different world view.”

Working alongside Māori and having an understanding of their aspirations is a key part of supporting them not just now, but in the future.

“There is an opportunity to not just continue the business as usual funding, but also to investigate new ways of funding for the longer term, with a more partnership-focused approach,” he says.

“There is a wish from the community for Rātā to act as a facilitator and an instigator so they can support the community. There is also an opportunity for Rātā to grow the capacity and capability of Māori, with a view that the more capable people are, the greater the impact will be within the community.”

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