Project Description

That existing statistical frameworks and methods cannot sufficiently deal with the complexities of contemporary Mäori development

Project Abstract

Mäori are ensconced in a period of development. This period involves Mäori, more than ever before, in an exploration of their options for advancing as a people, but within a dominant culture and form of governance. The purpose of Mäori development is not the same as for mainstream development of non-Mäori New Zealand. Mäori generally have a different view of reality that underpins their development choices. These choices vary from iwi to iwi and region to region. Common include a closer resonance with the land, whakapapa, and self-sufficiency as a people. Mäori believe, contrary to other views, that they have not extinguished their rights to be Mäori and to retain control over various parts of their estates. This causes tension with the dominant culture, and is always a feature of Mäori development.
Statistical information is an important element of the overall information needed for developing societies and is generally recognised as one of the currencies of development (World Summit of the Information Society, 2003). However, that statistical information, including the frameworks and methods that form the basis of the design, collection, analysis and dissemination processes must be fit for the purpose for which it is intended to serve. In this regard it is asserted by many, that existing statistics and statistical frameworks fail to deal with the complexities of Mäori development, because they are primarily designed to accommodate non-Mäori norms.
The Mäori world view, that drives development, is complex. It is founded on a more traditional system of knowledge, yet incorporates many of the features of western and global knowledge. However, the most defining factor that differentiates knowledge perspectives and development pathways is culture (Marsden, 1994). For even if decisions on indigenous development are based on traditional cultural values and practices, it could be that the people being developed have benefited from and are more accustomed to modern influences, such as new technologies, and are less likely to embrace a completely traditional approach to development (Briggs, 2005).
This research will be significantly located within development theory, and will discuss the reasons for development choices. It will also examine how knowledge systems contribute to providing a perspective of reality from which development goals and processes arise, and further consider the nature and characteristics of existing statistical frameworks. A feature of the research will be a small survey of the heads of major Mäori development institutions to attain views, supported by their knowledge and experiences, on the use of statistical information to assess the development environment and/or measure development progress.

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