We are not brown-palagi: Navigating cultural boundaries in Samoan research

Byron Seiuli


Pasifika-led research in adopted homelands like Aotearoa (New Zealand) remains an area that needs attention. In particular, research frameworks that account for Pasifika knowledge must, at their core, embrace the values, languages, philosophies and cultural practices of those communities being researched. It is encouraging to see that Pasifika researchers and health professionals are continuing to take an active role in championing Pasifika heritage not only in Pasifika spaces, but extending this into mainstream arenas. It is for the purpose of adding to and supporting Pasifika indigenous knowledge that this article seeks to make a contribution. This article explores Pasifika health research within a Samoan context, with a specific focus on the Uputāua Therapeutic Approach (UTA) as a research framework. Insights are drawn from the author’s research engagement with a number of research projects (Ola Fa’autauta Lifewise Project, 1997; Meaalofa as a Counselling Approach, 2004; and, Ua tafea le tau’ofe, 2011-2015), and from research literature on Samoan cultural practices.

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