Credibility and validation through syntheses of customary and contemporary knowledge : a thesis presented for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Maori Studies, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
This ground breaking doctoral thesis brings together science, history and the values derived from lore and tikanga to address a significant health issue for contemporary Maaori. The specific contribution of this research thesis is the combination of knowledge bases from two perspectives. The thesis first presents a scientific view, then a Maaori view, discovered through an interface of customary and contemporary knowledge. The method first examines Western academic theoretical methodologies, then, Kaupapa Maaori methodologies, then introduces and develops the concept of inherited knowledge supported by the mandatory Standards required in an academic context. Therefore the major findings present the syntheses of the two approaches. The framework used is reproducible through an accepted or approved example of something against which others are judged or measured. At this point the thesis explores the theoretical framework for a health intervention by surveying whether it is possible to combine knowledge traditions in a contemporary setting. Thus the accessed inherited traditional and scientific knowledge discovered in this thesis has been adapted for the nine point health intervention designed for Maaori participation. This thesis hypothesises that the staple long finned eel diet contained the essential fatty acid omega-3 and is presented as a metaphor for Hauora, thus being consistent with modern scientific knowledge where the scientific findings presented. The long finned eel was chemically assayed for the presence of the unsaturated essential fatty acid omega-3, and assayed again to assess the stability and quality of fresh and smoked eel. Type II diabetes mellitus is offered as a story and why it has suddenly occurred in Maaori subsequent to urban migration and thereafter. In addition a ten year study of Waikato hapuu supports the research that regular consumption of the long finned eel prevents Type II diabetes. And that prior to urban migration holistic practice, through established lifestyle choices and inherited knowledge, provided nutritional, other physiological benefits and broader wellness outcomes. The double vowel has been used for all te reo Maaori words in the thesis because that is the kawa or protocol of the Tainui Kiingitanga.