This article explores the tensions one research team has faced in securing appropriate governance or stewardship (which we refer to as kaitiakitanga) of research data. Whilst ethical and regulatory frameworks exist which provide a minimum standard for researchers to meet when working with Māori, what our experience has highlighted is there is currently a “governance” gap in terms of who should hold stewardship of research data collected from Māori individuals or collectives. In the case of a project undertaken in the traditional healing space, the organisation best placed to fulfil this governance role receives no funding or support to take on such a responsibility; consequently by default, this role is being borne by the research team until such time as capacity can be built and adequate resourcing secured. In addition, we have realised that the tensions played out in this research project have implications for the broader issue of how we protect traditional knowledge in a modern intellectual property law context, and once again how we adequately support those, often community-based organisations, who work at the interface between Indigenous knowledge and the Western world.
The full paper is freely available through the International Indigenous Policy Journal