Marginalising Māori Parents

Project purpose: Parents of young children, as the intimate stewards of a new generation, carry the weight of societal expectation upon their often youthful shoulders. While it is true that parenthood has probably never been more scrutinised by communities, institutions and the state at large, leaving almost all parents feeling pressured, it is also the case that certain groups, especially young parents endure greater suspicion, censure and surveillance than any other. Within this cohort, Māori parents and fathers in particular are criticised and often demonised in everyday discourse, in the media, policy frameworks, political power plays and institutional debates.

These marginalised parents are widely understood to be instrumental in producing the patterned ill-health, educational difficulty, behavioural disorder, criminality and under-productivity (the so-called long-tail of youth failure) characteristic of the underclass beloved in political discourse. Aside from the burden of self-doubt and negativity that such framings place on this already stressed group, it undermines their capacity to deliver the nurture and sustenance that their young families deserve and need. Despite this, their voices are rarely heard and, as a current Whariki led scoping study is indicating, society and the health system in particular may be significant and under examined perpetrators and producers of this marginalisation. This internship will provide a first step in the development of research in this area and provide an opportunity for a student to gain skills. If research is ongoing, the student will be invited to participate further.

The programme of work to be carried out: The candidate will carry out a literature search using a suitable set of key words with all of the appropriate search engines, catalogue the resulting resources and review the materials in an orderly and coherent way. They will produce a report and make an in-house presentation summarising the findings especially in relation to their relevance to future research.

Day to day nature of the work: The candidate will spend their time reading, summarising and writing. They will work alongside the Senior Researcher and other Whariki colleagues, particularly in analytical skill building and discussions around future research before producing a final document which they will present at a Whariki hui.

Skills the student will learn

  1. Literature search skills
  2. Critical reading
  3. Review skills
  4. Analysis
  5. Research development
  6. Presentation skills