An Application of a Tivaivai Research framework to a quantitative Pacific health research project using New Zealand’s Integrated Data Infrastructure Tivaivai framework for quantitative Pacific research

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Jesse Kokaua
Seini Jensen
Troy Ruhe
Justine Camp
Wilmason Jensen
Debbie Sorensen
Albany Lucas
Rosalina Richards


Pacific Health, Research Frameworks, Integrated Data


Using the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) to investigate or research various social, cultural, health, or other related outcomes is appealing and has a lot of potential. The IDI offers sufficient numbers for researchers to investigate outcomes in Pacific communities to a level of detail not available in many studies. Additionally, it allows organisations to upload their own data to supplement measures in the IDI. The overall aim of this paper is discuss the appropriate values for research projects involving Pacific communities using IDI data; issues around ownership of data from Pacific communities; consent; identification; and other ethical considerations.

Although the IDI has a great deal of potential for Pacific health research, many findings based on research using IDI data have been recognised as deficit-framed and polarising for the communities they describe. Some would argue that such findings highlight discrepancies in health or social equity and point to deficiencies that should be the responsibility of governmental organisations. Most analyses stop short of investigating practical pathways for communities to find solutions that are sympathetic to the values or established infrastructure of those communities. Instead, most communities found themselves characterised by deficit and feeling solely responsible for their poor situation.

This paper proposes an extension to the Tivaivai/Tivaevae research framework and shows how it incorporates values that should be reflected in Pacific research using IDI data. With applications in a range of disciplines, the Tivaivai framework, like many Pacific research models, has been applied to quantitative or small mixed-methods projects, and usually restricted to Cook Islands research. This paper shows its usefulness can be applied to a strictly quantitative research framework, making it sympathetic to wider Pacific values as well as consistent with other familiar Pacific research frameworks. These concepts will be incorporated into a research project for an HRC funded Post-doctoral study investigating the value of education to health outcomes for Pacific families. It is hoped that this paper may provide a starting point for other quantitative Pacific research projects involving administrative or other big data.

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