Negotiating the interface of genetic testing, biobanking and Māori ontology and epistemology
- New Genetics and Society
Author/s: -Taupo, Katrina
Journal: New Genetics and Society
This article privileges lay perspectives drawn from three M?ori (indigenous people of New Zealand) participant contact groups asked to respond to stimulus materials about genetic therapies, predictive tests and biobanking as new health biotechnologies become readily accessible. Findings from an MA study found the groups did not respond directly to information that referred to genes, tests and medicine. Rather, their talk was suffused with reference to spiritual and cultural contexts bound up in a web of interrelated aspects of life processes governed within hap? and iwi ontologies and epistemologies realities. These realities and knowledge systems incorporate protocols, histories, whakapapa (genealogies), roles and responsibilities, spirituality and physical interdependence. Based on the interconnectedness expressed by participants, this article will highlight the subtle ontological oscillation moments of sense-making that occurred when participants changed their views depending on the situation presented before them. This observation gives rise to the notion that while no single M?ori view emerged on the potential risks and benefits genetic tests and biobanking might have for these participants, more poignant questions are critical to identify suitable pathways for M?ori to engage and contribute to decision-making processes which arise from the ontological assumptions in human genetic science technologies and biobanking.