This issue of MAI Journal, Volume 10, Issue 1 (2021) contains eight papers covering a diverse range of research areas. This issue reflects the multi-disciplinary nature of MAI Journal beginning with two articles covering Kaupapa Māori early years provision, four situation reports on the COVID-19 pandemic, then an article on identity in academia in Aotearoa New Zealand, closing with a final article envisioning a Kaupapa Māori citational practice.
The lead article by Erana Hond-Flavell, Reremoana Theodore, Gareth J. Treharne, Aroaro Tamati, Will Edwards, Richie Poulton, Ruakere Hond and Mihi Ratima titled Tangi te Kawekaweā: Whānau engagement in Kaupapa Māori Early Years Provision-an exploratory qualitative study, posits Kaupapa Māori early years provision (KM-EYP) as critical for Māori cultural revitalisation, and the laying of a foundation for educational success and lifelong wellbeing of tamariki Māori. This paper utilised an inductive thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews to identify barriers and facilitators of engagement. These findings have the potential to inform policy and practice to enhance whānau Māori engagement in the learning and development opportunities offered by KM-EYP and the early years sector more broadly.
The second article in this issue by Aroaro Tamati, Mihi Ratima, Erana Hond-Flavell, Will Edwards, Ruakere Hond, Hinerangi Korewha, Gareth J. Treharne, Reremoana Theodore and Richie Poulton is titled He Piki Raukura: Understanding Strengths-based Māori child development constructs in Kaupapa Māori early years provision. The research undertaken in Taranaki, seeks to define Māori child behaviour constructs that could underlie positive Māori child development. These constructs enable novel ways of understanding child development and exploring how Kaupapa Māori early years initiatives might impact on development.
The next paper The impact of the COVID-19 level 4 lockdown on food security among whānau of decile 1 schools is a situation report by David Tipene-Leach and Pippa McKelvie-Sebileau. They document exacerbated food insecurity among school whānau in deprived Hawke’s Bay schools early in the COVID-19 lockdown. They also highlight the school–whānau networks as a potential nexus of a primary foodsecurity hub, alongside the Lunches in Schools programme, in any further lockdown. The report advocates for simple structural rearrangements for the chronically food insecure in a post-COVID-19-lockdown environment, particularly with an ongoing lack of progress in the reduction of child poverty.
Rehia Whaanga and Raema Merchant alert us to some significant changes in tertiary education in Aotearoa New Zealand, in their situation report titled The initial COVID-19 rāhui: Resilience among social work tauira in Tairāwhiti and Hawke's s Bay. They identify the current situation, issues and challenges for social work degree students at the Eastern Institute of Technology’s campuses in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti. The resilience of tauira during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown is reported together with a proposed way forward for future learning that supports tikanga and the diverse needs and realities of tauira.
The situation report titled Te whare tapa whā: The impact of physical distancing on the health and well-being of kuia and koroheke by Rāwiri Tinirau, Ana Te Putere O Te Rangi Allen, Miriama Cribb, Hine Maraku and Susie Wakefield considers health and well-being using Te Whare Tapa Whā, in relation to health and well-being impacts on kuia and koroheke from physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. The authors recommend that support group efforts in future pandemic lockdowns, centre on increasing coordination amongst different help groups, using holistic approaches such as Te Whare Tapa Whā when considering individual health and well-being needs.
The last situation report in this issue titled "Wake up, Sheeple!" Conspiracy theories and Māori during the COVID-19 pandemic by Byron Rangiwai, outlines some of the literature about conspiracy theories and its application to Māori during the COVID-19 pandemic. This report discusses some psychological factors regarding vulnerability to conspiracy theories and issues of power and powerlessness for Māori. It advocates for a manaakitanga-informed approach to dealing with whānau who are disseminating conspiracy theories.
John Overton’s article titled Is This Professor Māori? Personal reflections on identity in academia in Aotearoa New Zealand was inspired by “Why Isn’t My Professor Māori?” (McAllister et al., 2019), an article which appeared in this journal and addressed the under-representation of, and inequities facing, Māori academic staff in universities in Aotearoa New Zealand. John presents some personal reflections, raises some questions with regard to academics with Māori heritage but who struggle to identify as Māori, and describes some of the discomfort of being in the “middle ground” of cultural identity. He argues that engaging with such troubled identities and histories is needful to decolonise ourselves and our universities.
The final article by Hana Burgess, Donna Cormack and Papaarangi Reid titled Calling forth our pasts, citing our futures: an envisioning of a Kaupapa Māori citational practice, considers what it means to cite as Māori. The authors centre whakapapa, conceptualise citations as extensions of our relational world and view citation is an expression of whanaungatanga. This article draws from Kaupapa Māori alongside research ethics offered by Moana Jackson to envision a Kaupapa Māori citational practice..