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In the first two chapters of this thesis, I initially reviewed the generalised colonising impacts and imposed dominant western social formations (in chapter one), followed by a more specific review of reproductive patterns, traditional mātauranga1 and tikanga Māori2 and colonising impacts on cultural and institutional practice (in chapter two). The current chapter picks up the methodological thread from chapter one, where key interventions in the Mana Wāhine3 approach to research (Pihama, 2001) utilised in this thesis were outlined, including deconstruction for decolonisation, legitimation of mātauranga Māori, positioning Māori women’s experiences at the centre of analyses, acknowledging the diversity of Māori realities in a post-colonial landscape, and developing research relationships through a dynamic of whānaungatanga.4
Here, I describe the overall qualitative design of the project, a method that enables the generation of rich and detailed descriptions of a particular phenomenon (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005) including exploration of the interconnections of tikanga, colonisation and possibilities for emancipation. I outline the process undertaken to recruit, engage and conduct interviews with Māori tāne5 (15), wāhine6 (16) and key informants (12). I describe the scope and focus of general participant interviews that were designed to elicit men’s and women’s experiences, perspectives and beliefs about having children and key informant interviews that were designed to drawn on their knowledge of mātauranga, te reo me ona tikanga7 and its application in related health areas. I then describe the Māori critical realist ontology and Māori social constructionist epistemology that informed my reading of the data using thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006); how recurrent patterns or themes were sought through a data-driven inductive approach while discursive ideas common to critical and Mana Wāhine theories shaped a deductive approach to the analysis.
This project aims to fulfil Māori expectations and quality standards, following tikanga Māori (HRC, 2008; Hudson, 2010) and Kaupapa Māori8 (L. Smith, 2006). The research was also approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee on the 5th of December 2007.


Kaupapa Māori research requires practitioners to work in accordance with tikanga Māori. Key considerations for researcher engagement have been described by Linda Smith (2006): Aroha ki te tāngata,9 kanohi ki te kanohi,10 titiro, whakarongo… kōrero,11 manaaki ki te tāngata,12 kia tupato,13 kaua e takahia te mana o te tāngata,14 kaua e mahaki.15 This is not a definitive guide to researcher conduct but provides a starting point for researchers to consider during initial and ongoing engagement with participants and communities. I have italicised these concepts where I describe my engagement with them in the relevant sections of this chapter.
Guidelines for interviewing Māori are not found in textbooks (L. Smith, 2011), this is drawn out of the dynamics of Kaupapa Māori where understanding and coming to knowledge is formed in the process. Interviews were done in a participant focused way, and I endeavoured to meet the participants’ requirements, being flexible with the arrangement of the interview. Tikanga ensuring that the mana16 of participants was maintained took precedence over my research or analytic agenda (Glover et al., 2004). Participants were interviewed ‘one-on-one’, which is a useful approach for eliciting personal accounts (Arksey & Knight, 1999) in the context of a sensitive topic like reproduction that involves discussions about relationships, sexuality, te whare tāngata,17 and whānau.18 Semi structured interviews offered participants flexibility with answering the question, allowing them to discuss a broader ‘story’ about their experience and expand on aspects of their experience not directly elicited by questions from the interview schedule.
Potential participants were given an information sheet containing information about the researcher’s intentions, the focus and process of the research, and proposed dissemination of results (see appendices B, C, D and E). In this, they were also informed that interviews would be digitally audio recorded for the purposes of transcription, and given the option of receiving a summary report of the final research project. Care was taken to mention that this is a qualitative project, and they may be quoted verbatim from the research, albeit anonymously. They were also informed that the interviews were conducted predominantly in English, given that I only had a beginner’s level knowledge of te reo Māori.19 However, both English and te reo Māori versions of the Participant Information Sheet and Consent Form were available. My email address and a contact phone number was supplied in the participant information sheet in case an intending participant wanted to ask questions, or arrange a meeting kanohi ki te kanohi (L. Smith, 2006).
Discussions occurred prior to the interview to whakawhānaungatanga20 (L. Smith, 2006), obtain informed consent and attend to the wairua21 of the interview. Using the written consent form (see appendices F, G, H and I) as a guide, I discussed how the participants’ information would be used in the project, gave them the opportunity to ask questions and sign the consent form. I recited a karakia22 at the start and finish of the interview if participants were agreeable to this, or asked if there was another they preferred. Throughout this process and the interviews I maintained a view of aroha ki te tāngata (L. Smith, 2006), ensuring participants were comfortable with the interview arrangement and questions asked.
Participants were given the opportunity to have the interviews at the University (7), my home (5), their home (20), workplace (7) or marae 23 during recruitment at marae wānanga 24 (4). While the vast majority of interviews were done in a private location, some participants did not wish to be interviewed in a location away from their partner or children. In cases where participants’ insisted on this arrangement, I agreed and their whānau were present for the duration of, or parts of the interview. Protocols were also established in order to ensure my safety during the interviews. When doing an interview inside a participant’s home, I would attend with someone who had introduced us.
All general participant interviews were conducted kanohi ki te kanohi (L. Smith, 2006). In one interview (M9) with a participant I had prior history with, I utilised a computer program ‘Skype’ which allowed us to have an interview ‘live chat’ with computer video cameras kanohi ki te kanohi while the participant was overseas. One key informant interview (KI6) was conducted over the telephone due to differences in location, financial constraints associated with meeting kanohi ki te kanohi (L. Smith, 2006) and an absence of ‘Skype’ technology. In this instance, measures were taken to ensure the participant was satisfied with the interview content, and I sent her a copy of the transcript to review and inform me of any material she would like omitted from the analysis or any ambiguities about my representation of her; no changes were made.
With consent, the interviews were audio-recorded and later transcribed. Attempts were made to manaaki ki te tāngata (L. Smith, 2006) and participants were offered a koha25 in the form of a $20 petrol voucher and kai26 during the interviews. Participants were not offered audiotapes of their interviews, or their transcripts (see later section on sending participants transcripts in this chapter); however, a summary of the research findings was made available for participants on completion of the research, if they wanted it. Participants were also informed at the beginning and end of the interview that they could contact me if they would like to withdraw any of their data or information from the study up to one month after the interview.


I chose to focus on men’s and women’s experiences of fertility, reproduction and parenting in this thesis as the majority of research in this area has been conducted solely with women. Research that focuses on wāhine and excludes tāne in this area has been problematised as it mutually reinforces men’s lack of responsibility and involvement (Greene & Biddlecom, 2000). The inclusion of tāne in this research is appropriate for Māori, as culturally, reproductive decision-making is a whānau responsibility (Irwin, 1992; Rimene et al., 1998). It is likely that the absence of men’s’ narratives from whānau discourse stems from the influence of dominant western discourse that views child rearing and domesticity as women’s’ responsibility; through tikanga Māori, children are seen as the responsibility of the wider whānau. I aimed to interview people from a range of iwi27 (see Table 1), of different ages, genders, sexualities, occupations, rural/urban geographies, and parents/non parents (summarised in tables 2-3, below).
Sixteen wāhine and fifteen tāne who identified as Māori were interviewed about their views, beliefs and experiences around fertility, reproduction and parenting. General participants for this study were required to culturally identify as Māori and have Māori ancestry, given the research aims to explore Māori cultural perspectives on fertility, reproduction and pregnancy. Participants were required to be over the age of 18 years old, in order to give informed consent. Overall, a wide range of ages, from rangatahi28 to kuia29 and koroua30 were included (see Table 2). I was interested in the views of people both who had and did not have children. The majority (25/31) of general participants were parents themselves – 15/16 Wāhine and 10/15 Tāne, with an overall average of three children each. Of the 12 key informants, 10 had children, with an overall average of four per parent (see Table 1). The majority of participants were heterosexual; one tāne general participant identified as gay, and another two participants (one wāhine general participant and one key informant wāhine) refuted any categorisation of their sexuality (see Table2).
Participants were recruited from a range of socioeconomic statuses, though were not directly asked for their incomes as a ‘measure’ of this. Given the impact of colonisation on disadvantaging Maori in the context of a market based economy (see chapter one), asking whether participants were working at the moment, and what they did if they were, was a more meaningful way of approaching this (see Table 3). Around half of participants were not in full time paid employment (6 were beneficiaries; 4 were pensioners; 3 were stay at home parents; and 3 were students), while a number were in occupations across the socioeconomic spectrum that could be considered working to middle class (5 in construction and transportation; 4 in community health), and middle to upper class (4 in lecturing/research; 2 in admin/teaching).
Advertisements for lay participants were posted at the University of Auckland, the undergraduate psychology research notice board, the Department of Psychology Kōhanga,31 Hineahuone at Nga Tauira Māori,32 and emailed through personal networks. Additionally, two Māori recruiters assisted by approaching potential participants about the research on my behalf. Some of these recruitment methods led to ‘snow balling,’ or whakawhānaungatanga (L. Smith, 2006) with participants recommending the research to others. My details were made available on the research advertisements for lay participants; they approached me to express possible interest, by email or phone. I subsequently followed up on their request, arranging a time to discuss what the research involved, scheduling an interview at a location and time that suited both the participant, and I.
While a diverse range of people were recruited (see tables 1, 2 and 3 for participant demographics), this research cannot, and does not, represent the views of all Māori. Further, the aim of the research is not to generalise to all Māori, given that not only are there iwi, hapū33 and whānau differences (Mikaere, 2010; Pihama, 2001) but individual differences, and various levels of engagement with dominant western discourse. Therefore, this research aims to access rich detailed descriptions of some Māori perspectives on fertility, reproduction and parenting, situating them within broader social norms and contexts.
Interviews lasted an average of 68 minutes; ranging from 23 minutes to over two hours. At the start of the interview I explained the format of the questions I intended to ask in order to assist them to know what to expect, upholding their mana, 34 in order to kaua e takahia te mana o te tāngata (L. Smith, 2006). I mentioned that some of the questions may seem strange, or common sense, but that I was interested in explanations and reasons behind these assumptions we hold in common. I also asked questions to ascertain demographic information about the participant, their iwi, gender, age, occupation, current locality, number of pregnancies, children, their current ages, and grandchildren. During some of the interviews it emerged that some general participants had experience in relevant health services and an in-depth knowledge of te reo me ona tikanga. In these interviews I allowed the participants to speak about their work experience, and made use of this data during the analysis. In extracts where general participants spoke about pertinent work experience, I have referred to their role such as ‘kaumātua’35 in parenthesis with other relevant demographic information [Kaumātua, tāne, 40s, rural].
Semi structured individual interviews were conducted, focusing on participants’ experiences with fertility, reproduction and parenting, with further questions about their views, beliefs, and values on the subject. In allowing participants to story their experience, I was attending to the concept of spiral discourse (Bishop, 2005; see later section on representation for a full elaboration of this concept), where the multiplicity of views and experiences is acknowledged, shaped between the researcher and participant and allowed to come forth in an interview setting. I asked questions, allowing the participants to speak without interrupting them, allowing them to share what they found relevant on that particular point, following the process titiro, whakarongo… kōrero (L. Smith, 2006). When the participant had finished speaking, I either asked a ‘probing’ question that asked for more explanation, or proceeded to ask them the next interview question if they had not already covered this.
In some cases, participants narrated the story of their life, and experiences relating to fertility, reproduction, and parenting across the generations, or work experiences. When participants chose to respond in this way, I allowed them to continue, noting when they were covering points of experience relating to the interview questions and any possible probing questions. When they finished their kōrero36 I noted areas of my schedule that they had responded to, followed up with probing questions and asked any remaining questions. This manner of responding to questions suited the aims of my research, as questions were deliberately broad, aiming to generate personal stories and experiences and elicit participants’ personal beliefs on these issues.
The broad areas for interview questions were refined and developed in relation to the literature and early interviews (and piloted). Interviews with general participants focussed around their personal experiences of starting families and having babies, the importance and role of children in their whānau, their age when they had children and level of support (personal networks, government, and health services), the size of their whānau, and positive and negative experiences in this process. I asked these participants whether they thought Māori have different views to Pākehā on these issues, their views of recent media accounts of Māori fertility and the ways Māori are portrayed.
After completing eight pilot interviews with wāhine, and doing an initial analysis, I reshaped the direction of the interviews in order to elicit more specific information about the participants’ experiences. This pilot material was also utilised in later analysis and included in the final thesis. Questions were designed to orient the interviewee to reflect on their experiences with babies, reproduction, and sexual and reproductive health services. With participants who had children, I asked about their experiences growing up in their whānau, having children themselves, their support and experiences with social, birth, post-birth, and sexual health, services. I also asked whether there were times that participants felt honoured or stigmatised for having children, and what they saw for their future (see appendix J). Interviews with participants without children followed a similar format, though I asked whether they wanted children and included hypothetical questions about how they would envision their experiences having children (see appendix L).



Key informant interviews were conducted to investigate te reo me ona tikanga and mātauranga Māori from kaumātua, Māori researchers and clinicians, and how they applied this in their work. Given the legacy of research as a vehicle for colonisation of Māori, where Māori are ‘researched’ and Pākehā experts come to have ‘knowledge’ over Māori (L. Smith, 2006), I saw value in privileging Māori expertise. Aiming for a diverse perspective I recruited researchers who had some interest in reproductive matters, and clinicians from a range of areas in health including spiritual wellbeing, general health, mental health, counselling, sexual health, midwifery, infant care and abortion services. Recruiting key informants with a broad range of expertise has allowed me to examine commonalities and differences in their approaches to mātauranga Māori, however it is beyond the scope of this thesis to offer a full evaluation of any specific area.
It was difficult to recruit Māori key informants as I encountered health services that did not employ any Māori staff, yet saw Māori clients; persistence was needed to identify Māori staff members within health care organisations, and specific Kaupapa Māori services (see table 4 for key informants’ areas of expertise, and tables 1, 2, and 3 for key informants’ demographic information). In approaching potential key informant participants, I emailed, phoned, or met with managers of the agencies of interest (such as Māori midwifes, marae, Plunket, Family Planning), explaining my research, and asking if there was likely to be any Māori staff within the service who might want to participate. Once Managers were willing to let me disseminate information on my research to staff, I emailed participant information sheets to them, with my details for them to contact me. This method yielded few participants, and it was rare that I received responses. All participants who were interviewed were recruited through whakawhānaungatanga and networking with colleagues who recommended colleagues or friend of theirs.
Interviews lasted an average of 73 minutes; ranging from 37 minutes to over two hours. As noted in general participant interview processes, the same level of attention was paid to kaua e takahia te mana o te tāngata and titiro, whakarongo… kōrero (L. Smith, 2006), allowing a spiral discourse to develop (Bishop, 2005; see later section on representation for a full elaboration of this concept) and allowing a narrative flow.
The interview schedule for key informants was piloted on the first key informant participant (a wāhine clinician). This interview was included in the analysis. After asking for demographic information, in order to build rapport I asked about her personal experiences of starting families and having babies. I then asked about clients’ common presenting issues, the service’s approach and her personal approach to Māori clients. I asked about whether she knew of further agencies that support Māori who are having babies, her perception on their efficacy and suggestions for improvements. I narrowed this to focus on her specific experiences with clients, her perception of their views about children and whether she believed Māori have different views to Pākehā on these matters. I then asked about her view on recent media accounts of Māori fertility.
After piloting, I reshaped the interview schedules to be nuanced differently for health professionals and researchers (see appendix L) and kaumātua (see appendix M). Both schedules retained the demographic questions but formal questions about key informants’ personal experiences were omitted in order to focus on participants’ expertise in sexual and reproductive health knowledges. Instead, I asked participants to discuss personal experiences as they became relevant. All key informant participants were asked what they saw as the influences that encourage and discourage Māori from having children today, over the last one hundred years; kaumātua were additionally asked about the tikanga behind this and influence of wairua and whakapapa;37 health professionals and researchers were asked if they saw whāngai38 practiced today. All key informants were asked for their perspectives on current research statistics that compared Māori with non-Māori in relation to childbearing ages, total fertility rates, abortion and sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates; participants were also asked whether they thought these were outcomes of a shift in tikanga. An implicit motive was also to ascertain key informants’ responses to the presentation of statistics, in relation to Māori comparison with non-Māori, common in deficit focussed research (see section on tino rangatiratanga39 in prior chapter). All key informants were then asked questions specific to their particular occupations; what traditional practices they saw retained, how they facilitated and supported this and what they saw the future hold for Māori protocols around fertility, reproduction and parenting. Health professionals and researchers were asked about their clients’ main challenges and their approach to support them. I also asked how clients came through these difficulties, whether the clients they saw were using contraception and what further support agencies were available to them. I was also interested in current sexual and reproductive health campaigns, asking whether they knew of any that took a Māori focus, whether traditional knowledges were incorporated, and how Māori were represented.


Critical theories are not central to a Kaupapa Māori research agenda, however their praxis may be useful in challenging and transforming disempowering social structures (Pihama, 2001) (see also section on deconstruction for decolonisation in chapter one on Mana Wāhine research). Some have advocated for critical theories to be used in Kaupapa Māori scholarship (Penetito, 2006; Reid, 2006b), though others have heeded caution in applying these tools for liberation, rather than colonisation (Reid, 2006b). In common with Kaupapa Māori and Mana Wāhine approaches, critical theories work on the premise of deconstructing negative social views, and disempowering institutional practices. In elucidating these everyday forms of colonisation, they can then be analysed, challenged and transformed, supplanted with alternatives (Willig, 1999).


In my earlier description of Mana Wāhine research I have described the difficulties associated with research oriented to understanding the worlds of Māori and Pākehā (Irwin, 2011), the various realities that are engrained within these spheres and intersections between them. As a Kaupapa Māori research project a Māori ontology, constituted in mātauranga Māori, has a primary role in constituting the lived ‘reality’ of participants’ everyday experiences. Sharing a Māori ontology, the experiences, beliefs, ideals and behaviour of my participants including discourses of wairua is taken for granted and interpreted as ‘real’ and valid, lending the definition of my ontological position as ‘realist’ in orientation.
However, a key analytic procedure in this research is examining how experiences are grounded in culture, through the various positions my participants occupy (Taylor, 2001). This involves externalising the taken for granted experiences and values described to me by participants and referring to them in terms of their manifestation and production within social norms rendering them subject to a more ‘relativist’ level of analysis (V. Burr, 1998). Under a relativist standpoint, no single ‘true’ perspective is considered to be shared by all those who belong to a particular social group (Fawcett, 2004), including Māori and Pākehā. Multiple perspectives are created by intersections with class, sexuality, race, age, rural and urban localities, in addition to iwi, hapū and whānau (see section on recognising diverse realities in chapter two on Mana Wāhine research chapter). What is taken for granted as ‘true’ knowledge is constructed through language, which is embedded in underlying discourses that constitute common understandings, values, and power relations (V. Burr, 1995; Kitzinger & Wilkinson, 1996). A sense of self is constituted through an embodiment of the various discourses available to people in a particular culture and society; while this is experienced in unified form, consciously as a coherent ‘self’, under analysis the subjectivity contains multi layered influence, contextually driven ‘desires’ and ‘behaviour’ that may be contradictory and inconsistent (Gavey, 1989).
In this thesis I take a critical realist approach (Willig, 1999) to my analysis, drawing strategically on both realist and relativist ontologies. Participant’s experiences are interpreted as ‘real’ and ‘valid’ but are seen to be multiple and varied. They are analysed for the ways they are constituted within various social and historical norms, values and discourses, where relevant; with a particular agenda to examine the impacts of dominant western discourses in historical and ongoing colonising processes. Crucially, the truth and validity of Māori discourses of wairua is taken for granted in participant accounts; this has been considered lacking in non Kaupapa Māori social constructionist research (L. Smith, 2006). My approach relates to my lived Māori ontological position and my politicised position to disrupt the legacy of research that negates the validity of such experiences (see section on approaches to knowledge in chapter two on Mana Wāhine research chapter). Understanding the embodied experience of wairua (Pihama, 2001), interconnection with the natural world and our relationships with others, past and present, conscious and unconscious, forms an integral influence on our sense of self, our embodied subjectivity.

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In this research, I have drawn upon a social constructionist epistemology (Gough & McFadden, 2001) aligned with the task of decolonisation in Mana Wāhine research. Understanding the historical, cultural, political and social context around participants’ common sense understandings is important in attenuating to broader power dynamics (Gough & McFadden, 2001; Willig, 2001). Demonstrating the social trajectory and function of knowledges that justify our marginalisation enables us to disrupt these processes and trace avenues for change and emancipation (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005). This approach aligns with and extends Moewaka Barnes’ (2010) concept of Māori-centred social constructionism that positions Māori concepts at the centre of the analysis, rather than ‘other’. It also relates to the Mana Wāhine aim to legitimate mātauranga Māori (see relevant section of chapter one), drawing upon these culturally suppressed knowledges to search for unique solutions from our ‘roots’, or ‘branching outwards’ to connect with te ao Hurihuri40 to fashion new strategies for emancipation.
From a social constructionist epistemology participants’ speech is not treated as a mirror to the reality of their experience, and attention is paid to the cultural assumptions and contradictions that pervade their talk (Hall, 1997). Through communication, participant’s speech is active, live, and organic; People actively shape and create their social worlds, new ideas and form new common sense understandings. Acknowledging this interactive process in the production of knowledge is the Kaupapa Māori concept of spiral discourses in interview contexts (Bishop, 2005; see later section on representation for a full elaboration of this concept). This also opens up opportunities to facilitate change through disrupting disempowering concepts in a decolonising process along with reinforcing and embedding mātauranga Māori concepts in everyday talk.
Unique to a social constructionist epistemology, but inspired by a Mana Wāhine research agenda, is an analysis of mātauranga Māori, sourced from a Māori epistemology. Mātauranga Māori is not analysed with deconstructive intent, as this runs counter to the mana wāhine aim to legitimate this holistic, interconnected cultural knowledge that has been suppressed by colonising objectives and practices. Thus, my intent is guided by a lighter form of social constructionism that seeks to draw out cultural assumptions and norms that guide and frame the participants’ ideas and behaviour, including those of mātauranga Māori (Pihama, 2001) sourced from a Māori epistemology (Sadler, 2007) and dominant western values, discourses and assumptions that have formed a colonising interface.


Representing an analytic stage in the research process, the audio recorded interviews in this study were transcribed according to an orthographic style (Lapdat, 1999). Care was taken to utilise transcription conventions that suited the analytic method chosen for this study, thematic analysis. Detail on the utterances, intonation and pitch were not deemed important data in this study and were not noted. Data were not ‘cleaned’ to be made more grammatical (Braun & Clarke, 2010); talk was typed verbatim, with ‘umms’, false starts and self interruptions included. Movements and sounds were described in brackets when they occurred, such as laughter, sighs, coughs and motions. Pauses were noted, with those extended over 1 second denoted by a description of their length (eg. 2.0, 3.0, 4.0). Overlapping talk was denoted by placing the less dominant statements in brackets amongst the dominant segment of speech, such as:
Participant: Yeah, it was! (both laugh). And it’s really filling too, you know it’s very nutritious. And umm, if they have that in the evening, you know for their evening meal they just sleep right through. (Snores).
Jade: Yeah, oh (laughs). That’s a good trick (both laugh). (Kura: Oh cool, cool). (3.0) Now, umm, (4.0). And did you access any other sort of health services, like sort of a doctor or midwife, anything like that?
While I transcribed some interviews (4), most were transcribed by a professional transcriber (39) who was required to sign a confidentiality agreement that ensured confidentiality of participants was protected. I checked all transcripts for accuracy and incorporated field notes that documented non-verbal communications. Electronic and any printed transcripts were anonymised; participant interviews were referred to by a ‘code’ such as ‘W1’ for the first wāhine participant, participants’ names, the names of people they spoke about, locations, workplaces, or further specific identity details were removed and referred to generically. In the analysis, demographic information including the participants’ gender, age range, and urban/rural location were reported alongside participant quotes in order to contextualise their responses [Tāne, 40s, rural]. Clinicians were referred to by a generic title such as ‘clinician’, ‘researcher’ or ‘kaumātua’ [Clinician, Wāhine, 30s, urban], with their area of work signalled if relevant in order to protect the anonymity of participants working within small networks of Māori in health services. There was one exception to this process, and one participant (Taane Thomas) was offered the opportunity to waiver his right to anonymity, with one extract attributed to him by name in this thesis and related publications, due to the unique and novel approach he had taken in designing and delivering a sexuality education programme. This did not compromise the anonymity of other extracts as he was not quoted further in his capacity as a sexual health educator.
The transcribed words of the participant interviews comprised the data under analysis, with quoted excerpts taken to evidence the analytic claims. Care was taken to balance ‘preservationist’ and ‘standardised’ systems of quotations to ensure that key elements of participants’ data were preserved while elements distracting from the analytic intent were removed (Sandelowski, 1994). However, much of the liveliness of the speech was retained including sighs, rhythms, false starts and self interruptions in order to preserve the quality of the conversation and non-articulated aspects of participants’ communication. When speech was removed from an excerpt this was indicated with three full stops in a row (…).


This research utilised Braun and Clarke’s (2006) approach to thematic data analysis where personal accounts were drawn together to produce “collective or shared meaning and experiences” (Braun & Clarke, 2012, p. 2) through identifying recurrent patterns or themes. This was done through an inductive analysis where analytic ideas were driven by the content of the data. Discursive ideas common to a social constructionist epistemology including the concepts of decolonisation (Pihama, 2001) and legitimating mātauranga Māori (Pihama, 2001) were also drawn through the analysis by a deductive approach (Braun & Clarke, 2012). This was informed by an understanding that participant experiences and understandings were grounded in culture and that they simultaneously actively created and reproduced this cultural knowledge (Braun & Clarke, 2006).
On a practical level, the analysis followed the six phases outlined in Braun and Clarke’s (2012) guidelines for thematic analysis (these six phases are italicised in the proceeding paragraphs). Following data collection, the interviews were transcribed and time was spent on familiarisation with the data. This involved either transcribing audio recordings or listening to the audio recordings while checking the accuracy of the transcripts, multiple readings of the texts, examining each transcript to identify all instances of talk related to the participant’s beliefs, personal decisions or experiences around fertility, reproduction and pregnancy. I kept a diary of my initial analytic ideas through this phase, which assisted me to make meaning from the data.
The second phase of analysis involved generating initial codes. Using NVivo, qualitative research software, I went through the transcripts developing semantic and latent interpretive codes for features of the data that related to my research questions. Throughout this process I linked text from the transcript to the corresponding code. In the third phase, searching for themes, I looked for patterns amongst the initial codes and brought these together under more inclusive categories; some codes were collapsed into an over-arching theme. The fourth phase involved reviewing potential themes in relation to the data, recursively going through the transcripts and back to the themes to assess their continued relevance and depth and defining areas of inclusion and exclusion of the theme. Defining and naming themes, the fifth phase, was ongoing throughout the writing process with supervisory input. Themes were demarcated by their uniqueness within the thematic map and linked with others to tell a story oriented to the research question or particular ‘sweet spots’ that constituted analytic interest. Themes were presented with an initial broad description of their scope, with carefully chosen extracts illustrating various manifestations of a particular theme.
During phase six of the analysis, producing the thesis, my interpretation and analysis of the data was contextualised in relation to the literature. I consulted with my initial broad based literature review to ensure all relevant concepts were incorporated in the analysis and structured ideas to allow a coherent narrative flow through the thesis. Feedback on the themes was obtained from kaumātua, my cultural advisor and rangahau whānau in the context of the final chapter, and integrated.

Table of contents
Whakapapa and whānau
He Pounamu Ma
Thesis outline
Broad impacts on Māori
Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Māori as tangata whenua
Specific impacts relevant to Mana Wāhine
Market based economy
Early missionary influence through the promotion of Christianity
Approaches to knowledge
Mana Wāhine
Deconstruction for decolonisation
Legitimation of mātauranga Māori
Theorising culture and identity in a post colonial landscape
Strengths based vs. deficit focused research
Reproductive patterns
Traditional mātauranga and tikanga Māori
Reproduction, growth and conception
Whenua and wai
Reproduction, whakapapa and identity
Social significance of reproduction
Sexuality, hapūtanga, and abortion
Te whare tāngata
Hapūtanga and childbirth
Ceremonies associated with the new life
Abortion and miscarriage
Whānau relationships
Primacy of children in the whānau
Colonising impacts, contemporary dilemmas and innovative strategies in reproduction
Cultural practice
Institutional practice
Sexuality education
Māori and reproductive decision making, today
Data collection
General participant recruitment and interviews
Key informant recruitment and interviews
Data Analysis
Thematic analysis
Methodological and ethical issues
Transparency in the research process
Sending participants transcripts
Sensitive research
Te reo Māori
He tamaiti he taonga
Special status of children
Child focussed parenting
Aspirations to have children
Relational aspects of whānaungatanga
Diversity and rich networks
Experience with children
Aroha, manaakitanga, wairua
Whānau support
Extending whakapapa into the future
Relationships oriented to future whakapapa
Individualising pressures
Education, career and home ownership ambitions
Maturation and ‘readiness’ to have children
Marriage, long term and ‘strong’ relationships
Challenging contexts
Reproduction in a market based economy
Cultural and racial marginalisation
Patriarchy and abuses of power
Standpoints and strategies
Accommodating voices
Resistant voices
Beyond an ‘appropriate age’
Beyond consumerism and material ‘wealth’
Shifting voices
Sexuality education
Reproductive responsibility
Working with variations in openness about sexuality
Contraceptive education
Meanings of maternal bodies
Whenua ki te whenua
Additional hapūtanga, birthing knowledges and care
Individual choice
Protection of new life
Abortion service delivery
Sexuality education
Maternity services
Patterns of cultural practice
The next twist

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