swinburn-systemsthinkingand-2019.pdf (1.69 MB)
Systems Thinking and indigenous systems: native contributions to obesity prevention
journal contributionposted on 2019-03-01, 00:00 authored by I Heke, D Rees, Boyd SwinburnBoyd Swinburn, R T Waititi, A Stewart
Much has been written about the impact of chronic conditions on post-colonial indigenous populations. Much less, however, has been written about indigenous knowledge and how it may help tackle poor health statistics among indigenous populations. This article describes two approaches to obesity prevention that are grounded in Mātauranga Māori (Māori worldview), both of which challenge the “person-centred” approach so prevalent in Western approaches. These approaches were mapped using Systems Thinking tools, specifically causal loop diagrams, to test whether or not these tools could be used to “translate” indigenous approaches in a way that retained the integrity of their particular worldview and provided a tool to help those communities reflect on their practices in a way that led to new insights. Systems Thinking was found to have many overlaps with Mātauranga Māori, and the use of system thinking tools provided mutually beneficial learning opportunities for both the researchers and the communities involved.