In September 2003, the University of Otago approved the Policy for Research Consultation with Māori.
The purpose of the policy was to provide University researchers and academic staff with a framework for an appropriate and mandated consultation process with Māori in research. It ensured an effective and efficient mechanism for managing the consultation process while acknowledging the needs and aspirations of Ngāi Tahu as expressed in the vision document, Ngāi Tahu 2025.
One mechanism resulting from the adoption of the policy was the formation of a structure that the University could engage with: the Ngāi Tahu Research Consultation Committee (NTRCC). The NTRCC is an external Committee to the University that provides a single point for consultation, providing clarity regarding issues of interest to Māori as end users of research. It also ensures participation of Papatipu in the decision-making processes involved in specific research activity.
This Committee aims to enhance and support Ngāi Tahu rangatiratanga (chieftainship or tribal authority) in research relationships. As part of the NTRCC process, the Committee has links and relationships with Ngāi Tahu and Māori1 communities from which input, direction and information is gathered. It is this input which informs feedback to the University research community. The second aim of the Committee is to ensure that Māori are strengthened systematically across all fields of research.
The second development arising from the policy was the Facilitator Māori Research position - now the Research Manager Māori (RMM) - which was established in August 2003. It is a full-time role based in the Office of Māori Development in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor.
The RMM works closely with existing research committees and other relevant stakeholders in this field. This ensures internal access for researchers to information which is relevant to appropriate consultation processes.
The RMM has primary responsibility for the management of the University policy on the Dunedin Campus, at the Wellington School of Medicine and with support from a 0.5 position at the Christchurch School of Medicine. Its functions include servicing the NTRCC whilst also acting as a conduit between the NTRCC and the University. It facilitates the consultation processes within the time frames agreed to by all parties.
The NTRCC formally consists of two representatives from each of the local Papatipu Rūnanga:
- Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki
- Ōtākou Rūnanga
- Te Rūnanga o Moeraki
The Committee has no formal chair; this function is decided at each meeting. In attendance are the Research Manager Māori, and the University's Director of Māori Development.
Another mechanism resulting from the development of the Policy for Research Consultation with Māori was the process undertaken to administer it (research propositions are submitted to the RMM by way of a web-based form).
1 In this instance, 'Māori' is used to include iwi, hapū and whānau, and pan-Māori organisations in the community