‘You made us feel at home’: towards Indigenous feminist methodologies with young wāhine in sport and exercise

Mihi Nemani
Holly Thorpe
Keaka Hemi
Anna Rolleston

Decades of research on Indigenous and culturally diverse young women in sport and exercise has been underpinned by deficit models where these groups are portrayed as ‘lacking’, ‘at risk’, and/or ‘vulnerable’. Such approaches have been heavily critiqued for ignoring broader structural and systemic inequities that have produced such health disparities. These approaches also reproduce racialised ideologies of Indigenous and culturally diverse women where they are seen as a ‘problem group’ in sport, exercise and health research. Over recent years, a growing body of research is advancing culturally appropriate methodologies and methods that aim to prioritise the voices and lived experiences of Indigenous and culturally diverse women. This paper contributes to this literature by providing an example of research that used Indigenous methodologies (Mana Wahine and Masi Methodology) to engage young Māori and Pasifika wāhine in Aotearoa New Zealand. We start by positioning this paper in relevant literature, then detail the cultural underpinnings of the methodological approach we used. We then outline the research and offer some practical considerations in, i) recruiting young women within one’s community, ii) using methods such as wānanga (meetings), digital diaries and kai (food), and iii) weaving care and reciprocity. In so doing, we highlight the importance of using locally specific feminist methodologies throughout research with, by and for young Indigenous and culturally diverse young women.

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Research Type(s)
Journal Article
February 5, 2024
Published in
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