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Published 4 July 2017

Mentoring guidance prepared with a cultural lens

Support for culturally appropriate mentoring is being released today by Royal Society Te Apārangi to aid researchers and mentors in an increasingly diverse Aotearoa New Zealand.

“Mentoring is an important part of sharing knowledge and building skills of our researchers.  It is most effective when it is done in a culturally appropriate way so we have worked to provide guidelines that draw on Māori, Pasifika, and Pākehā perspectives to offer a unique framework for mentoring in the context of an increasingly diverse Aotearoa New Zealand,” says Chief Executive Dr Andrew Cleland FRSNZ.

“Effective mentoring is valuable at all stages of a researcher’s career.  We think that even experienced mentors will benefit from the guidelines given the increasingly diverse Aotearoa New Zealand research community.

“Enhanced mentoring practice also promises to make an important contribution to improving equity in the achievement and professional mana of researchers from groups that may have been disadvantaged,” says Dr Cleland.

The working group consulted in both Māori and Pacific research communities and the following core values for effective mentoring relationships provided a framework for the guidelines:

  • Manaakitanga – cherishing and enhancing the mana of others.
  • Whanaungatanga – acknowledging and building relationships.
  • Kotahitanga – a shared understanding of the purpose and/or vision for the mentoring arrangement and a commitment to learning together.

In addition, mentoring in the Pasifika context should affirm distinct Pasifika customs, practices, and ways of being and values including:

  • Reciprocity – a relationship based on mutual exchange.
  • Service – working for the benefit of others.
  • Respect – holding others in high esteem and accepting them for who they are.
  • Relationships – establishing and valuing interactions with others.
  • Family – valuing unity and sharing concern for others.

The request for guidelines came from our Early Career Researcher Group. The guidelines are freely available on the Royal Society Te Apārangi website to be used by anyone or any group who find them helpful.

To keep the guidelines fresh we have scheduled a review in 2020.

The working group members who led the development of the guidelines were:

  • Dr Jane Allison (convenor), Royal Society Te Apārangi Early Career Researcher Committee Chair
  • Dr Philip Steer, Royal Society Te Apārangi Early Career Researcher Forum Vice-Chair
  • Associate Professor Daniel Stouffer, Royal Society Te Apārangi Early Career Researcher Forum Vice-Chair
  • Dr Melinda Webber, The University of Auckland
  • Distinguished Professor Peter Hunter, FRSNZ, The University of Auckland
  • Professor Richard Le Heron, FRSNZ, The University of Auckland
  • Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith, FRSNZ, University of Waikato
  • Professor Margaret Brimble, FRSNZ, The University of Auckland
Source: Royal Society Te Apārangi