A deeper deep listening: Doing pre-ethics fieldwork in Aotearoa New Zealand

Sebastian Lowe, Lily George, Jennifer Deger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter looks at what it means to set out to do anthropological research with tangata whenua (New Zealanders of Māori descent; literally, ‘people of the land’), from the particular perspective of a Pākehā (New Zealander of non-Māori descent – usually European) musical anthropologist with an interest in sound-made worlds. In late 2017, Lowe was awarded funding for a conjoint PhD scholarship in anthropology at James Cook University, Australia, and Aarhus University, Denmark. However, following advice from several colleagues in Aotearoa New Zealand, Lowe decided to assess the viability of the project with his prospective Māori and non-Māori collaborators prior to officially starting his PhD candidature. Throughout this process of pre-ethics (Barrett, 2016), Lowe met with both Māori and non-Māori to discuss the proposed PhD project; a ‘listening in’ to his own socio-historical positioning as a Pākehā anthropologist within contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand. This approach to anthropological research is in response to George (2017), who argues for a new politically and ethnically aware mode of anthropology that aims to (re)establish relationships of true meaning between anthropology and Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIndigenous Research Ethics
Subtitle of host publicationClaiming Research Sovereignty Beyond Deficit and the Colonial Legacy
EditorsLily George, Juan Tauri, Lindsey Te ATa o Tu Macdonald
Place of PublicationBingley
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-78769-389-0
ISBN (Print)978-1-78769-390-6
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAdvances in Research Ethics and Integrity
ISSN (Electronic)2398-6018


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