Much of what is known about whānau (Māori families) is sourced from key informants within a whānau, or from the aggregation of data on individuals within a household or whānau. The ‘Researching with Whānau Collectives’ project (RWWC) described here was initiated in recognition that understanding whānau as a collective would support whānau development and the achievement of whānau ora. The aim of the project was to find methods for researching with whānau collectives that were compatible with Kaupapa Māori and to pre-test these methods with whānau. Stakeholders consulted in the first phase of the project were clear that the methods should be strengths-based, and should ensure the protection of Māori concepts and the integrity of whānau. In the second, reviewing, phase of the project, profiles for 12 methods were developed by the principal investigators and colleagues. In the final, dissemination, phase of the project, stakeholder feedback on the completed project was canvassed. Feedback from stakeholders was positive with many seeing opportunities for the further trialling of the methods. The project and the resulting research methods will inform researchers, evaluators, government agencies and whānau themselves about ways in which the lives and realities of whānau collectives might be well represented by research and, in turn, in whānau-related policy formation.

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