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The F.I.R.S.T. Foundation

The Foundation For Indigenous Research In Society & Technology
Nga Kaitaunaki Rangahau Iwi Tuatahi, Puta I Te Ao


The Foundation is primarily a philanthropic trust. The aims of the Foundation are clear: 

To commission and facilitate research into issues of interest and concern to indigenous people everywhere. 

To promote informed public discussion of these same issues, at which indigenous voices are heard. 

In Aotearoa, the Foundation has embarked upon an exciting and ambitious programme NGAI TATOU 2020 (ALL OF US TOGETHER, 2020) which will involve commissioning research papers from leading-edge thinkers and practitioners, and arranging future wananga where these are publicly addressed and discussed by informed people of goodwill, whether indigenous or non-indigenous. 

NGAI TATOU 2020 will encourage indigenous people to articulate the Aotearoa/New Zealand they want their mokopuna to inherit. In the public arena, such views will be open to discussion and critical analysis. 

Aims, Primary Functions and Activities

The F.I.R.S.T. Foundation promotes the belief that Indigenous peoples can offer genuine alternatives to the current dominant form of development. However, what is more important than what alternatives indigenous people offer the world is what alternatives indigenous people offer each other. The FIRST Foundation in recognising this understands and promotes the principle that strategies that work for one community may well work for another and the gains made in one context may be usefully applied in another. 

Through  the sharing of resources and information the Foundation  assists groups and communities to collaborate with each other in the development of national and international protocols and strategic alliances to provide a more sustained critique of practices.  The Foundation promotes the  spiritual, creative and political resources that indigenous peoples can draw from each other to provide alternatives for each other. 

The Foundation recognises through its processes the importance of storytelling, oral histories, the perspectives of elders and of women which are an integral part of all indigenous research. Each individual story is powerful , but the point about the stories is not that they simply tell a story, or tell a story simply but that these stories contribute to a collective story in which every indigenous person has a place. 

The Foundation promotes a strategy where indigenous people are asked to bind together politically in a strategy which asks that people imagine a future, that they rise above present day situations which are generally depressing, dream a new dream and set a new vision 

Networking at events is one of the most efficient mediums for stimulating information flows, educating people quickly about issues and creating extensive international talking circles. The Foundation believes that through its programmes it will assist build networks to build knowledge and data bases based on the principles of relationships and connections 

Communities are the ones who have the answers to their own problems and the Foundation aims to ensure that the various agencies and government do not dismiss their ideas 

The Foundation seeks to enhance and develop research partnerships to develop a trained work force through mentoring and guidance to learn from the past, to confront the present and plan for the future. 

Ethical Guidelines For Research 

These guidelines have been developed to help ensure that, in all research sponsored by The F.I.R.S.T Foundation on Indigenous Peoples, appropriate respect is given to the cultures, languages, knowledge and values of Indigenous peoples, and to the standards used by Indigenous peoples to legitimate knowledge.
These guidelines represent the standard of "best practice" adopted by The Foundation.

Indigenous peoples have distinctive perspectives and understandings, deriving from their cultures and histories and embodied in Indigenous languages. Research that has Indigenous experience as its subject matter must reflect these perspectives and understandings. 

In the past, research concerning Indigenous peoples has usually been initiated outside the Indigenous community and carried out by non-Indigenous personnel. Indigenous people have had almost no opportunity to correct misinformation or to challenge ethnocentric and racist interpretations. Consequently, the existing body of research, which normally provides a reference point for new research, must be open to reassessment. 

Knowledge that is transmitted orally in the cultures of Indigenous peoples must be acknowledged as a valuable research resource along with documentary and other sources.  The means of validating knowledge in the particular traditions under study should normally be applied to establish authenticity of orally transmitted knowledge. 

In research portraying community life, the multiplicity of viewpoints present within Indigenous communities should be represented fairly, including viewpoints specific to age and gender groups. 

Researchers have an obligation to understand and observe the protocol concerning communications within any Indigenous community 

Researchers have an obligation to observe ethical and professional practices relevant to their respective disciplines. 

The Foundation and its researchers undertake to accord fair treatment to all persons participating in Foundation research. 


Indigenous Knowledge 
In all research sponsored by the Foundation, researchers shall conscientiously address themselves to the following questions: 

  1. Are there perspectives on the subject of inquiry that are distinctively Indigenous? 
  2. What Indigenous sources are appropriate to shed light on those perspectives? 
  3. Is proficiency in an Indigenous language required to explore these perspectives and sources? 
  4. Are there particular protocols or approaches required to access the relevant knowledge? 
  5. Does Indigenous knowledge challenge in any way assumptions brought to the subject from previous research? 
  6. How will Indigenous knowledge or perspectives portrayed in research products be validated? 

Informed consent shall be obtained from all persons and groups participating in research.  Such consent may be given by individuals whose personal experience is being portrayed, by groups in assembly, or by authorised representatives of communities or organisations. 

Consent should ordinarily be obtained in writing.  Where this is not practical, the procedures used in obtaining consent should be recorded. 

Individuals or groups participating in research shall be provided with information about the purpose and nature of the research activities, including expected benefits and risks. 

No pressure shall be applied to induce participation in research. 

Participants should be informed that they are free to withdraw from the research at any time. 

Participants should be informed of the degree of confidentiality that will be maintained in the study. 

Informed consent of parents or guardian and, where practical, of children should be obtained in research involving children. 

Collaborative Research 

In studies located principally in Indigenous communities, researchers shall establish collaborative procedures to enable community representatives to participate in the planning, execution and evaluation of research results. 

In studies that are carried out in the general community and that are likely to affect particular Indigenous communities, consultation on planning, execution and evaluation of results shall be sought through appropriate Indigenous bodies In community-based studies, researchers shall ensure that a representative cross-section of community experiences and perceptions is included. 

The convening of advisory groups to provide guidance on the conduct of research shall not pre-empt the procedures laid down in this part but shall supplement them. 

Review Procedures 

Review of research results shall be solicited both in the Indigenous community and in the scholarly community prior to publication. 

Access to Research Results 

The Foundation shall maintain a policy of open public access to final reports of research activities. 

Reports may be circulated in draft form, where scholarly and Indigenous community response at this stage is deemed useful for Foundation purposes. 

Research reports or parts thereof shall not be published where there are reasonable grounds for thinking that publication will violate the privacy of individuals or cause significant harm to participating Indigenous communities or organisations. 

Results of community research shall be distributed as widely as possible within participating communities, and reasonable efforts shall be made to present results in non-technical language and Indigenous languages where appropriate. 

Community Benefit 

In setting research priorities and objectives for community-based research, the Foundation and the researchers it engages shall give serious and due consideration to the benefit of the community concerned.

In assessing community benefit, regard shall be given to the widest possible range of community interests, whether the groups in question be Indigenous or non-Indigenous, and also to the impact of research at the local, regional or national level. 

Wherever possible, conflicts between interests within the community should be identified and resolved in advance of commencing the project. 

Researchers should be equipped to draw on a range of problem-solving strategies to resolve such conflicts as may arise in the course of research. 

Whenever possible research should support the transfer of skills to individuals and increase the capacity of the community to manage its own research. 


These guidelines shall be included in all research contracts with individuals, groups, agencies, organisations and communities conducting research sponsored by the Foundation. 

It shall be the responsibility, in the first instance, of all researchers to observe these guidelines conscientiously. 

It shall be the responsibility, in ascending order, of researchers and the Foundation itself to monitor the implementation of the guidelines and to make decisions regarding their interpretation and application. 

Where, in the opinion of the researcher the nature of the research or local circumstances make these guidelines or any part of them inapplicable, such exception shall be reported to the Foundation through the Trustees, and the exception shall be noted in the research contract or contract amendments as well as in any publication resulting from the research. 

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