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We describe the approach of an Indigenous–non-Indigenous research partnership in the context of a qualitative study which aimed to understand barriers and facilitators to engagement in a community-based healthy lifestyles program in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Informed by Kaupapa Māori research principles and by “Community-Up” research values, this collaborative approach between the mixed Māori–non-Māori research team effectively engaged with Māori and non-Māori families for in-depth interviews on participant experience, including with non-service users. “Community-Up” research principles allowed for a respectful process which upheld the mana (status, dignity) of the interview participants and the research team. Challenges included maintaining flexibility in our conceptions of ethnicity to reflect the complexity of modern family life in Aotearoa/New Zealand. We were committed to ongoing communication, awareness, and attention to the relationships that formed the basis of our research partnership, which allowed effective navigation of challenges and was critical to the study’s success.

Original publication




Journal article


Qualitative Health Research

Publication Date





1404 - 1411