Pakeha paralysis: Cultural safety for those researching the general population of Aotearoa



"The emergence and dominance of the Māori-centred research paradigm is leaving Pakeha researchers out in the cold. “Pakeha paralysis” draws on my experiences as author, teacher and university ethics committee member to account for the reasons why so many Pakeha postgraduate students are caught in a state of paralysis, deliberately excluding Māori from their general population research samples. While supposedly addressing cultural concerns, through avoiding cultures not their own, these Pakeha researchers fail to fulfil Treaty of Waitangi responsibilities. This paper offers explanations of why this paralysis developed, and how it has been codified into health and tertiary ethics guidelines and in university teaching. The paper ends by offering solutions to work through this cultural web by honouring the Treaty of Waitangi while promoting cultural safety for Pakeha researching New Zealand society.

Table of contents




Primary author: Tolich, Martin

Secondary author: Massey Univeristy

Author biography: Pākehā

Publisher: Martin Tolich

Publication date: 2002

Publication place: Palmerston North

Publication availability: Yes

Publication location: Treaty Resource Centre

Catalog reference: 305.8 TOL – Filing Cabinet – Cultural Safety

Misc. notes: Available on:

Content type: Report, Treaty generally

Sector: Education – Treaty, Health

Informal group: Māori, Pākehā

Culture related topics: Cultural safety (Kawa whakaruruhau)

General related topics: Tino rangatiratanga

Historical period: 20th

Resources: Culture