The revitalised Fonofale as a research paradigm: A perspective on Pacific sexuality and reproduction research

Type of content
Journal Article
Publisher's DOI/URI
Thesis discipline
Degree name
Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Young, Cameron D.
Bird, Rebecca J.
Hohmann-Marriott, Bryndl E.
Girling, Jane E.
Taumoepeau, Mele M.

Research into Pacific peoples’ sexuality and reproduction is often complex and conflicts with social tapu. Historically, Pacific sexuality and reproduction research had been approached using a deficits-based lens with minimal congruence of Pacific cultural values. We offer a revitalised Fonofale model (Pulotu-Endemann, 1995) as a research paradigm that centres tapu in all considerations and decisions surrounding the research. This revitalised model offers a strengths-based approach that can promote valuable collection of, and meaningful engagement with data. We offer a case study which utilised this research paradigm as an overarching strategy. Te Tīpani Project was a mixed methods investigation into eighty-two Pacific tertiary students’ understandings of sexuality and reproduction. Pacific research methods and methodologies, including the Kakala model and Talanoa method supported the integration of the paradigm into components of the study. We encourage researchers to utilise this strategy to fulfil their research obligations, as facilitators and guardians (mana tiaki) of the research environment. Pacific research methods, methodologies and epistemologies hold an important place in the field of sensitive Pacific well-being research by enabling cultural consideration and responsiveness.

methodologies, Fonofale, reproduction, sexuality, tapu, Pacific
Ngā upoko tukutuku/Māori subject headings
ANZSRC fields of research
CC BY 4.0