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Community Researchers Honoured in National Awards


On 31 October 2019, Tangata Whenua, Community and Voluntary Sector honoured some of the most outstanding New and Emerging Community Researchers in Aotearoa at Wharewaka in Wellington.

Te Auaha Pitomata, New and Emerging Community Researcher award recipients for 2019 were:
• Yvonne Wilson from Te Runanga O Kirikiriroa in Hamilton (Tangata Whenua/Whanau Ora Research),
• Gloria Fraser PhD student in Psychology in Wellington(Community Research),
• Sam Uta’I Pasifika evaluator, community worker and facilitator from Christchurch (Pasifika Research),
• Sneha Lakhotia, Researcher and Policy Analyst at Wai Research in Auckland (Ethnic and Migrant Researcher) and
• Tessa McKenzie a community development facilitator in Katikati from Tauranga (the Billie Award for Strengths-based Research)

All recipients demonstrated a positive influence on communities or community research and service to the diverse Tangata Whenua, Community and Voluntary sector, community engagement, leadership collaboration and inclusion in the research.

Yvonne Wilson http://buildingbetter.nz/publications/SRA5/Reddy_et_al_2019_Toolkit_Kaumatua_Housing.pdf
Yvonne’s work in envisioning and leading the construction of the Moa Crescent Kaumātua Village was the basis for the He Kāinga Pai Rawa: A Really Good Home research project (funded by Building Better Homes Towns and Cities National Science Challenge). The outcomes of this research included three booklets each focused on a phase of the development (the vision, the road from vision to reality, and achieving the vision), and He Keteparaha Tēnei Mō Te Whare Kaumātua: A Toolkit for Kaumātua Housing. This toolkit is the basis of the next research project which Yvonne is a partner.

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Yvonne Wilson has made significant contributions to the community of Māori Kaumātua, particularly in housing and wrap-around support services to enhance the kaumātua wellbeing. She has strong community relationships and brings these to research collaboration. In this respect, Yvonne continues to serve the community and voluntary sector, and in particular Kaumātua and their whānau.

Gloria Fraser – www.rainbowmentalhealth.nz
A substantial body of research documents high rates of mental health difficulties in New Zealand’s rainbow communities (that is, among those who are sexuality, gender, and sex characteristic diverse). Despite this, there has been little research that examines whether rainbow people in Aotearoa feel supported by their mental health professionals. For her PhD research, Gloria aimed to fill this literature gap by exploring the experiences of rainbow community members who have accessed mental health support in Aotearoa. The goal of this project was to understand how mental health service provision could be improved for rainbow New Zealanders.

Gloria’s research was community-based, meaning that she conducted research with rather than on people, in order to create social change and achieve social justice. Her main partners in this research were rainbow community organisations Gender Minorities Aotearoa, InsideOUT, and RainbowYOUTH. She also consulted with a number of other community groups and organisations, including University-based groups (e.g., UniQ Massey Wellington, UniQ Victoria), advocacy and service provision groups (e.g. Mauri Ora Student Health), and other rainbow community groups (e.g., Outerspaces, Intersex Awareness NZ, Tranzform). At each stage of the research process she sought advice and guidance from research partners. This involved asking for their thoughts on the research methodology, participant recruitment, interview and survey questions, and data analysis. She shared the findings with her research partners, which they used to inform their own work in rainbow communities. Gloria and her research partners worked together to develop a resource for mental health professionals, to guide their work with rainbow clients. She received input from over 100 rainbow community members and mental health professionals, to ensure the resource was accessible and helpful.

This resource is freely available for download at rainbowmentalhealth.nz. They fundraised to print 700 physical copies of our resource and made these available for free order, so that community organisations and mental health services could use our resource in their practice. They ran out of physical copies of the resource within one month and have had over 5,000 visitors to our resource website since it launched. Feedback about the resource has been overwhelmingly positive, and RainbowYOUTH, InsideOUT, and Gender Minorities are now able to distribute this to mental health services and other community organisations when they deliver training and guidance about supporting rainbow people.

Sneha Lakhotia https://wairesearch.waipareira.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Ng%C4%81-Tau-M%C4%ABharo-o-Aotearoa-Report-ONLINE.pdf

Snehais an Indian health and social sector professional who came to Auckland, New Zealand four years ago. She is passionate about catalysing change and driving social impact. Her experience as a dental practitioner, coupled with a deep desire to contribute to the health of the population at large, led to pursue her Masters in Public Health specialising in Social Epidemiology. In her four years in New Zealand, she has been working with Te Whānau o Waipareira and the North Island Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency (WOCA /TPM) in the role of the Policy Lead and Senior Researcher at Wai Research. Her research demonstrated the financial and social benefit to the investment in Incredible Years whanau programme. More than 300 whanau have participated in the programme and it has been shown to offer a $3.75 return for every $1 invested.

Sam Uta’I https://ako.ac.nz/knowledge-centre/enhancing-pasifika-student-success-at-canterbury-tertiary-institutions/

Sam was part of a two-year project focused on the implementation and evaluation of the Pasifika Success Toolkit targeting Pasifika student success. A collaboration involving the University of Canterbury, Lincoln University and Ara Institute of Canterbury. (The toolkit includes: a definition of Pasifika success; a set of Pasifika Success Indicators; exemplars of good practice; and a model for cultural responsiveness training and development). The primary aims of the project were to:
• understand how Pasifika learners define success
• learn more about the initiatives in place to enhance Pasifika success
• find out if the toolkit makes a difference to Pasifika student experiences and outcomes
• encourage use of the toolkit across the participating institutions and the tertiary sector.

The project sought to achieve the following outcomes.
• Pasifika Success Toolkit is utilised, maintained, developed and regularly evaluated for effectiveness.
• Pasifika Success Indicators are monitored in tandem with educational performance indicators for improved Pasifika success overall.
• Pasifika pedagogies and epistemologies are valued and visible within a greater range of areas in teaching, learning and research.
• Staff whose institutions are involved in the project increase their understanding and confidence to engage more effectively with Pasifika students.
• Pasifika students have an increased sense of belonging.
• Institutional environments reflect more culturally responsive services and spaces for Pasifika students.
• Pasifika recruitment, retention and completion rates improve.

Tessa MacKenzie -http://www.envirokatikati.org/hearts-and-minds/
Katikati Hearts and Minds – Community Led Participative Action Research The research was initiated to find a common identity that could anchor the Katikati community, but early on it was established that there was much disconnection, particularly between cultures, including racism. The research team consisted of an additional facilitator and a Māori researcher, who led a specific stream of the research by, for and with Māori only. Mana whenua also engaged in the overall Community-led research, and all Research Reference Group meetings were held at the local Marae to ensure a ‘from the roots’ approach engaging with the local hapū and working outwards into the wider community, including other ethnicities, youth and connection to the natural environment as emerging themes.
Reflections from the Reference Group can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxCTcoGd6Qo

About Community Research
Community Research is a national NGO that develops research capability in the Tangata Whenua, Community and Voluntary sector. We work to improve, gather and share research and research tools, that support the sector in their mahi. Our purpose is to contribute to a healthy, engaged and informed sector.
We acknowledge our partners in the awards: Te Aparangi: The Royal Society, Health Promotion Agency and Te Putahitanga ki te Waipounamu.

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