One could easily argue that Pacific research methodologies (PRM) and Pacific relational ethics (PRE) are not new: a genealogy of approach would take one back to the ancient Pacific philosophers and practitioners of ancient indigenous knowledges—indeed back to Tagaloa-a-lagi and the 10 heavens. However, in the last two decades, there has been a renaissance of PRM and PRE taken up by Pacific researchers based in New Zealand and the wider Pacific to counter the Western hegemonic tradition of how research is carried out and why—especially research involving Pacific people, families, and communities. In the diaspora, as ethnic minorities and in their island homes, as Third World nations, Pacific peoples and communities are struggling to survive in contexts of diasporic social marginalization and a neocolonial globalizing West. So there is a need to take stock of what contemporary expressions of PRM and PRE are, how they have developed, and why they are needed. This renaissance seeks to decolonize and reindigenise research agendas and research outputs by doing research based on Pacific indigenous theories, PRM, and PRE. It demands that research carried out with Pacific peoples and communities is ethical and methodologically sound with transformational outputs. In reality, the crisis in Pacific research is the continuing adherence to traditional Western theories and research methods that undermine and overshadow the va—the sacred, spiritual, and social spaces of human relationships between researcher and researched that Pacific peoples place at the center of all human/environment/cosmos/ancestors and animate/inanimate interactions. When human relationships are secondary to research theories and methods, the research result is ineffective and meaningless and misinforms policy formation and education delivery, thereby maintaining the inequitable positioning of Pacific peoples across all demographic indices, especially in the field of Pacific education.
The Samoan indigenous reference of teu le va, which means to value, nurture, and care for (teu) the secular/sacred and social/spiritual spaces (va) of all relationships, and Teu le Va , the Ministry of Education research guideline, both evoke politicians, educational research institutions, funders, and researchers to value, nurture, and, if necessary, tidy up the va. In a troubling era of colonizing research methodologies and researcher nonaccountability, Pacific educational researchers can take inspiration from a range of philosophical theorizing based on the development of a suite of PRMs.
Keywords: Pacific methodologies, va, teu le va, relational ethics, relational accountability, relational responsibility