Oral Presentation Australasian Association of Bioethics & Health Law and New Zealand Bioethics Conference

The development and future needs of guidance for the conduct of ethical research involving indigenous peoples in New Zealand and Australia: footnotes to Te Ara Tika in honour of the late Barry Smith.  (1056)

Colin Thomson 1 , Lindsey Te Ata MacDonald 2
  1. Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd, Griffith, ACT, Australia
  2. Ngai Tahu Research Centre, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

Over the last three decades, New Zealand, Australia and Canada have been travelling toward developing a coherent, consistent and respectful approach to human research ethics review for research that involves indigenous populations.

All three countries have grappled with similar histories and current developments so eloquently summarised in the introduction to chapter 9 of the Canadian Tri-Council policy and paraphrased here.

Research involving indigenous peoples has been defined and carried out primarily by non-Aboriginal researchers. The approaches used have not generally reflected indigenous world views, and the research has not necessarily benefited indigenous peoples or communities. 

As a result, many indigenous people continue to regard research, particularly research originating outside their communities, with a certain apprehension or mistrust.

However, this landscape of research involving indigenous peoples is now changing. Growing numbers of indigenous scholars are contributing to research as academicsand community members as researchers while communities are better informed about the risks and benefits of research.

In this presentation, we provide a brief account of the development of guidance for the ethical conduct of research involving indigenous peoples in New Zealand and Australia. We seek to identify matters of substance and process that remain in need of clarification in future developments of that guidance, for example, how are the subjects of research determined and when and how do researchers need to consult with indigenous participants?

  1. Te Ara Tika: Guidelines for Maori Research Ethics: A framework for researchers and ethics committee members, 2010, Health Research Council, New Zealand
  2. Guidelines for Ethical Research in Australian Indigenous Studies, 2012, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  3. Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Peoples and communities: Guidelines for researchers and stakeholders, 2018, National Health and medical Research Council, Australia
  4. National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, 2018, National Health and Medical research Council, Australian Research Council, Universities Australia