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Foundational Principles

Building from our Loomio discussions and polling, this meeting was held to finalise the tangata tiriti proposal for circulation with the full complement of stakeholders and participants. The generation of this proposal was originally requested during the July 2019 workshop in Wellington.

The initial plan to apply for a nidus of funding from the University of Otago was successful, and a business case for institutional co-financing was circulated to relevant stakeholders. Following the workshop – and since we’ve now received Research Theme status from Otago – delineating the organisational structure, governance, values, and themes comprises the next step, to be undertaken by the full organisation.

There was general agreement from the Loomio discussions about proposing a tripartite structure, consisting of rangatiratanga, tangata tiriti, and relational spheres (reflecting one of the proposals in Matike Mai). N.B. the Matike Mai report references a kāwanatanga sphere rather than a tangata tiriti sphere, but participants agreed that terming this the ‘tangata tiriti’ sphere for the purposes of this organisation was more appropriate. The rangatiratanga sphere is given effect through the CHA Tangata Whenua Caucus; a rōpū of Māori academics and researchers who provide insight on Māori values, worldviews and aspirations in a climate health/climate change context.  Represented graphically, these spheres would look (roughly) thus:

Rangatiratanga Sphere

Relational Sphere

Tangata Tiriti Sphere

An overarching theme of co-leadership and co-governance was agreed upon as part of this proposal.

Proposed values and guiding principles from the tangata tiriti sphere for consideration by the whole centre (including via the relational sphere) include:

  • accountability to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Te Tiriti, and He Whakaputanga
  • a commitment to equity (including intergenerational equity), and an acknowledgment of privilege
  • an acknowledgement that health, equity, and environmental sustainability are intertwined
  • seeing climate change as a symptom of underlying issues including colonisation and the dominant global economic model

In addition, Matike Mai talks about the following values, which we strongly support being part of this centre proposal:

  • Kawa
  • Tikanga
  • Hapori/Hapū/Whānau

The centrality of hapori/hapū/whānau could also be interpreted on the tangata Tiriti side as a focus on community, community-led research, and/or community transformation, in addition to any policy structurally or governance-oriented research that might happen. We are proposing that research themes will be multi-scalar, operating on multiple levels.

This is reflected in a desire to generate research that is appropriately contextualised, collaborative, participatory, and inclusive. A focus on ‘ecologies of knowledge’, operationalised by not privileging some forms of knowledge over others, was also made made explicit in our discussion.

Any results from this undertaking will be less useful unless rooted in core values. A shared understanding of values with the tangata whenua caucus will be necessary for inclusion in an overall vision.

It remains an open question about how international research, particularly in the Pacific, fits within the tripartite structure.  Although we have noted that international research should be in keeping with UN declarations of rights, in particular UNDRIP, as well as the consideration given to Pacific peoples as whanaunga in the Matike Mai document, not to mention the particular place that Pacific peoples have in relation to New Zealand law, society, economy and culture, as a Pacific nation, and that Pacific countries are on the frontline of climate impacts on health