By Rosemary Rangitauira 13/04/2021

Driven, accountable, unafraid to test limits and connected to the communities she serves are traits that come to mind when thinking about Dr Anne-Marie Jackson. (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu o Whangaroa, Ngāti Wai)

She specialises in Māori physical education and health research disciplines while incorporating tikanga Māori and Te Tiriti o Waitangi into her research work and the tertiary programmes that she has developed.

Anne-Marie currently works at the University of Otago and holds leadership roles in:

  • Te Koronga – A research excellence group set up to supervise and train Māori research students and non-Māori research tauira (students) who want to work with Māori communities on Māori research topics as well as the Indigenous Science Research Theme. She co-founded Te Koronga with Dr Hauiti Hakopa; and
  • Te Tiaki Mahinga Kai – A project led by Associate Professor Chris Hepburn that brings people who gather kai from the environment together. It aims to sustainably enhance the cultural, social, environmental and economic well-being of Aotearoa and for Ngāi Māori

Anne-Marie embodies tikanga Māori and radiates a maternal instinct to do all she can for the well-being of people and the environment. She leads through teamwork and acknowledges the people who advance kaupapa such as Te Koronga and Te Tiaki Mahinga Kai including her peers and students at Otago University.

“For me, much of our work is about grinding out excellent mahi because that’s what our people deserve. It’s also about walking the talk. There is nothing flash, no bells and whistles. It’s really just about turning up and getting it done. Sometimes as researchers it’s easy to critique, critique, critique without providing any solutions or necessarily delivering on outcomes. For the mahi that we do, that type of research is not enough,” she says.

Anne-Marie says Te Koronga is made up of four programmes which are Māori physical education and health, Tangaroa (Marine), Waka and water safety and indigenous science.

All the programmes she develops are underpinned by four key elements:

  • Community engagement and co-produced research
  • Uses kaupapa Māori methodology
  • Hui and wānanga; and
  • Enables graduate student excellence

Anne-Marie is soon to take up a co-director role at Coastal People: Southern Skies, a new national Centre of Research Excellence.

It’s a collaboration, based at Otago University, made up of researchers and representatives from tertiary institutes, the Government and the community. It connects representatives from hapori (communities) to international and local māngai (representatives) from across research disciplines to support a transformational change to rebuild coastal eco-systems.

Nurtured through her research career at Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (New Zealand’s Centre of Māori Research Excellence), she has some advice for emerging and upcoming kairangahau Māori.

“It’s important to differentiate yourself – whether you are a Māori researcher who undertakes Māori research with Māori methodologies or a researcher who is Māori. There is a distinction, and neither is more important than the other – they are just different. For example, like any research area or discipline, it’s imperative we know, understand and can practice the depths of that research area and it’s the same for kaupapa Māori. We should expect that kaupapa Māori researchers are trained or are training in our knowledge traditions and practices.

“Never be afraid to say you don’t know things. Stay in your lane. Turn up. Get it done. Be excellent. Know your place and enjoy it. As my Aunty Mere Wallace said to me recently – practice radical manaakitanga (enhancement of mana)!”


Bonus Read

Dr Anne-Marie Jackson also co-leads and is involved in numerous research projects including:

  • A national project in the Ageing Well National Science Challenge called Kaumātua Mana Motuhake Pōi Mātauranga Tuku Iho hosted at the University of Waikato. In her role, Anne-Marie and the team work alongside kaumātua in Puketeraki just north of Dunedin. They want to see how te reo, tikanga Māori and physical activity contributes to their well-being;
  • Tangaroa Ara Rau: Water safety programme for whānau based in Otago, Northland and Waikato is a Health Research Council funded project. Halfway through the project and having completed the study designed in Otago, the aim of this work is for it to become a free programme available to whānau Māori across Aotearoa. Anne-Marie is a co-lead on the project alongside Dr Chanel Phillips and Dr Jordan Waiti; and
  • Anne-Marie is also an author in a recently published book that shares the personal stories of 24 Māori scholars. You can read more about the book, Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga – Māori Scholars at the Research Interface, here.

If you’d like to find out more about Dr Anne-Marie Jackson, her tertiary programmes and the research she’s involved in – click here.


*Photo credit: Sharron Bennett