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A critical analysis of the place of culture in evaluation

For the past 100 or so years formal evaluation has taken its lead from frameworks that originate from a culturally blind standpoint. Worldwide the major influence on evaluation practice comes from the United States of America. The absence of non-dominant (or indigenous) culturally constructed frameworks has been replicated around the world. Before the formation of the Aotearoa New Zealand Evaluation Association (ANZEA), as a New Zealand specific evaluation group, practitioners generally belonged to the Australasian Evaluation Society (AES) and joined in the sharing, adoption and adaptation of USAs Program Evaluation Standards. However, the context of evaluation in New Zealand has been somewhat different from the rest of the world, becoming more culturally centered than other countries. The role and place of the Treaty of Waitangi has been acknowledged as an attributing factor (ANZEA, 2011). Four indigenous “By Maori for Maori” health & wellbeing programmes externally evaluated were case studies within my research. I draw upon examples from the cases studies to highlight the vulnerable and contentious position indigenous service providers and indigenous evaluators were in. Adapting Sandra Grande’s (2004) analysis, I critiqued the context of the case study evaluations that commissioners considered as Kaupapa Maori. In this presentation I argue that while stakeholders perceived the work to be an indigenous evaluation, the case studies demonstrate that whitestream evaluation was prevalent.
Conference Contribution
Type of thesis
Masters, B. (2015). A critical analysis of the place of culture in evaluation. Presented at the Aotearoa New Zealand Evaluation Association (ANZEA) Conference: Navigating Evaluation Making waves in Aotearoa and across the Pacific, Auckland, New Zealand.