Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a reconfiguration of action research that has found particular traction within organisational settings and is explored here for its potential use within whānau (Māori family) research. Rather than focusing on what is wrong, AI practitioners ask affirming questions and encourage participants to focus on what works. The aim of the 4-D (Discovery, Dream, Design, and Destiny or Delivery) AI Cycle is transformational change, sourced from collaborative inquiry with participants. AI is compatible with Kaupapa Māori concerns that whānau strengths be recognised and built upon in order to facilitate whānau ora (wellness). The pre-test of an AI Discovery phase with whānau highlighted the potential of affirming questions to elicit both positive and negative experiences from whānau, resulting in contextualised information. Whānau also provided feedback about the language used and stressed the importance of their relationship to the researcher. Overall, AI demonstrated its potential as a whānau research method, with the true test of its utility being whether or not it is able to catalyse whānau transformation.

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