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Belonging, whanaungatanga or both? Blending Māori values with contemporary social psychology to create effective interventions

Hitaua Arahanga-Doyle (Ngāi Tahu, Te Ātihaunui-a-Papārangi) is a PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology at the University of Otago. He is interested in the idea that western social psychological concepts that have only recently been viewed as important in educational settings have long been central to Māori views of education and development. His research looks to utilize developments in the belonging literature, combined with mātauranga Māori, to further promote and validate indigenous centered research as well as demonstrating its usefulness as an effective way to help address important social issues such as adolescent wellbeing and tertiary students drop-out rate. His recent work includes a chapter on Indigenous principles of belonging in the textbook ‘Global Perspectives on University Students’ and being published in Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences. Hitaua is also a University of Otago graduate (BA, BCom), and is completing a Fulbright scholarship in the United States at Stanford and Northwestern University.


In the United States, brief and cost-effective approaches – called ‘wise’ interventions – have been shown to improve a number of important psychological inequalities found in groups of minority and disadvantaged students. Such interventions have led to improvements in belonging, wellbeing and academic performance. In this talk I will discuss research in which I attempted to blend and adapt ‘wise’ social psychological interventions within the New Zealand context, focusing in particular on the promotion of important Māori values such as whanaungatanga. In this context these types of interventions serve a dual process: first, to reduce educational inequalities found between Māori and non-Māori and second, to provide a relatively cost-effective and novel way to emphasize Māori values. This research looks to utilize and build on Macfarlane and Macfarlane’s “He Awa Whiria-Braided Rivers” model, that suggests that an untapped area of growth within psychology in New Zealand is through the blending and balancing of contemporary western science programmes and kaupapa Māori programmes. I will discuss the efficacy of my research in this area and exciting avenues to move forward in the future.

Date Tuesday, 18 February 2020
Time 9:00am - 10:00am
Audience Public
Event Category Sciences
Event Type Seminar
Location200-level Lab, Level 2, Room 203
William James Building
275 Leith Walk
Contact NameJoanna Ling
Contact Phone+64 3 479 7644

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