This paper contributes to the theorising on Pacific research approaches from a personal and Tongan perspective. At the same time, it suggests that the majority of the thinking and concepts discussed have similarities and common implications for most other Pacific communities in AotearoalNew Zealand. In the paper, I discuss the underpinnings of what constitutes 'normality' in relation to research approaches. In order to theorise an appropriate approach to researching Pacific educational and social issues in Aotearoa, I discuss the infiuence Pacific indigenous values have on the way New Zealand Pacific peoples see their worlds.
INTRODUCTION In this paper, I argue that Talanoa,' "a personal encounter where people story their issues, their realities and aspirations" (Vaioleti, 1999-2003), allows more mo'oni (pure, real, authentic) information to be available for Pacific research than data derived from other research methods. I argue, using the metaphor of tui kakala (Helu-Thaman, 1997), that a cultural synthesis of the information, stories, emotions and theorising made available by Talanoa will produce relevant knowledge and possibilities for addressing Pacific issues. In writing this article, I acknowledge and actively support the prior place and reserved rights of Maori as Tangata Whenua in this land.