Processes for consulting with Māori for the purpose of research have been evolving at the University of Otago since 2001. Methods employed by researchers to develop relationships with Māori have varied, due to a lack of clear guidelines and cohesion in the past.
Under the auspices of the Memorandum of Understanding between University of Otago and Te Runanga o Ngāi Tahu, both parties recognised the need to be proactive and responsive to both Ngāi Tahu and Māori in research.
The resulting dialogue initiated structural development within the University, including definitions for 'consultation'. The purpose of consultation in research was to ensure that research practice and outcomes contributed to Māori development. Both parties acknowledged that consultation offered an opportunity for collaborative working relationships between researchers, Ngāi Tahu and Māori organisations/groups, as well as other relevant parties, i.e. Tertiary Institutions, Crown Research Institutions and Crown Research Purchasing Agents.
Subsequent to this dialogue, the University of Otago developed an appropriate policy which gave effect to the aforementioned issues while also being aligned with Government and Research Funding Agencies' commitments to the Treaty of Waitangi in research.