What’s it like living in MPHS

Report
What’s it like living in MPHS?
Issues of feedback from qualitative
research
The community – Mclaren Park/
Henderson South
MPHS compared with neighbours and the
Auckland region
• MPHS is a poor suburb. High rents increasing faster than
wages. More and more rentals. Larger families, more
overcrowded households, more solo parents and people on
sickness and invalid's benefits. More young people and
fewer older people. Greater responsibilities looking after
children and those who are unwell or disabled.
• It's a hard-working community. Growth of people with
qualifications, in study or working as in professionals,
technicians, community and service workers or in cultural
or arts related jobs is faster. As many wage-earners and
volunteers as elsewhere.
• A community dominated by cars. Car ownership is growing
rapidly. Without cars many are trapped in their homes.
The questions the RM students asked
• Descriptive: What was it like when you first came to
MPHS? Or, if very recently, what were your first
impressions of MPHS?
• Descriptive with simple evaluations: What's changed
since you first arrived?
• Major Evaluations: Overall what’s it like to live in
MPHS?
• Solutions: What can be done to fix some of the
problems of living in MPHS?
• Demographics: Age, Gender, Occupation, Works in
MPHS?, Culture/s, Religion, Living with?
Narrative interviews (Q1)
Prompts: when was that, impressions before you came, neighbours,
street atmosphere, making friends, children (their making friends,
new school, where would they play?), pets, parks, shops, transport,
work, sport, church, marae, community events, community
organisations, the MPHS community development centre, clubs,
MPHS community newsletters, businesses, connections with other
cultural communities (European, Pākehā, Māori, Pacific Island,
Asian, African), crime (theft, violence, bullying), police, was it a safe
place? (for kids, women, during the day, at night, on the weekend,
during school holidays, anywhere you wouldn't go?).
Allow the narrative to move beyond first experiences by asking "what
happened next?" when something interesting turns up, e.g. if there
was a row with a neighbour what are relationships like now? or if
they had a nice time at a community event what was the outcome
(new friends, access to information and resources, etc)?
Convenience sample (34 interviews) –
did not match the community
• Age: more 31-50 yr olds; less young and old
• Culture: more Māori; equal Pacific Is.; less Pākehā, Asian,
other
• Gender: more women; less men
• Religion: more no religion; equal other religions; less
Christian
• Employment: more employed; less unemployed
• Occupation: more community workers; equal
professionals; less other (managers, clerical, sales,
machine operators, labourers)
• Households: more people in the household; but same
distribution of children
Data quandary
• Students did great narrative interviews. They got
many rich and exceptional stories.
• The interviews did not always cover the same
ground (e.g. about church, gangs, pets) and thus
themes are not necessarily representative of the
sample.
• The sample is not representative of the
community. Is it ethical to summarise the data as
if it is and to report this back to the community?
• How do you report back to a depressed
community?
Another Waitakere example
• Innovate Change’s research on what parents of
pre-schoolers need – MSD SKIP review
• 39 parents and 11 professionals interviewed, one
“whānau” meeting with 30 parents and 12
children – not representative
• The report: for each theme we get
1) great pictures;
2) one or two pieces of verbatim; and
3) A researcher’s summary of the theme
• Funding will follow the report’s recommendations
Feedback that engages and transforms
• Is it research or is it marketing?
• Using an action research paradigm – feeding back
the voices, not necessarily creating the solutions
• Use of performance, film, visual media, internet,
facebook, etc
• Leverage from other work - Violence Free
Waitakere’s Bully Banishing Campaign, Phoenix
Performing Arts group, Unitec Communications
and Film and Performing Arts Departments
Feedback that engages and transforms
• Mix and mingle - meet other people, looking at posters and
photos presenting information about MPHS from the 2013
Census; some of the stories of the participants, and the key
issues and solutions for a more resilient community
• A presentation pulling things together
• A performance from the Rootz group that dramatises some of
the collective stories and the solutions suggested.
• Kai and chance to talk and read a summary document.
• Small group discussions - what are some of the next steps we
could take to make MPHS a safer, more fun place to live.
• Large group feedback seeing what commitments we can
make individually and collectively for the future.
Dialogues
• Instead of summarising a theme take the verbatim
from all the participants and make it into a dialogue
between 2-4 people.
• Try and capture all positions taken by participants
and connect them without diminishing their polarity
• Play this story back to the participants or other
groups and explore how they resolve the issues
• Present an authentic experience rather than a highly
summarised one through the researcher’s lens
Gangs’ Dialogue
• About half the participants talked about gangs
• Some of the verbatim was covered by more
than one participant
• This dialogue has verbatim from twelve
participants and some connecting sentences
• The dialogues tend to start with hard edges
and move to more reflective spaces in much
the same way as a conversation between
friends might.
The feedback from the dialogue
Culture, belonging, family
Gangs are part of our culture and they have their own culture.
Part of gang culture is that it’s cool to be bad and that “chicks like
the bad boys”. This has links to bullying, domination, heavy
drinking and drugs, vandalism, dangerous car culture, and
protection of territory.
The culture also includes a sense of belonging, of being part of a
family, of having an identity, a place to stand and being tough,
proud and resilient. It’s a place of safety for some people, where
there are people who have “got your back”. It’s a place where
you are welcomed and everyone has much the same story.
The feedback from the dialogue
Stereotyping and fear
Gangs don’t have to be bad. They are just a group of human
beings, who are stereotyped. Stereotyping encourages gang
culture. Changing negative attitudes means we can see them on
the streets and not be afraid of them.
Many of us (particularly Asian) have never had any knowledge or
experience of “gang” life growing up and going to school here in
MPHS. We have always felt safe. For some gang members are
their friends and never a source of problems
The feedback from the dialogue
Solutions
Clearly we need to offer places of belonging and more options
for young kids to get involved in. We need to avoid stereotyping,
stop being afraid, and awhi gang members rather than isolating
them.
This means using a strengths approach, noticing skills and
reframing the skill sets (e.g. of tagging), stopping the isolation
and bullying, bringing in well-being, aroha and restorative
processes.
Globalisation and technology means that we are training kids to
be followers and not think for themselves. They lack the
“bigger” picture and they need leadership and leadership skills
Did it work?
• Not enough MPHS residents came
• The readings of dialogues needed more
practice
• The discussions after the dialogues were rich
and animated
• The recorded feedback both strengthened the
ideas in the dialogue, while adding new ideas
and solutions
Dialogues
THE GANGS
NEIGHBOURS
BULLYING
BUSES
TRAINS
CARS
TIME
THE HUB
POLICE, COMMUNITY PATROLS, WARDENS
CHILDREN
WHAT’S GREAT ABOUT MPHS
Where to next?
• Meeting with the Samoan Methodist Church
tonight to run the gangs dialogue
• Other dialogues, like the neighbours one,
could be used anywhere?
• Using dialogue as graffiti
Dialogue as graffiti
John: At the beginning
the people may look
rough you know, at first
glance when you’re new
to this community, but
the more you get to
know them you kinda
fall in love with the
people here you know
Rebel: What our street looks like
right now it looks safe. I think
they need to make the alley ways
more open coz there’s like
massive hedges, so I think the
need to make them lower, but
not too low coz that will make it
easier for people to rob those
houses. But in saying that, if
you’re running from someone or
someone’s behind you, a low
hedge would be good so u can
jump over to get to safety faster
Is there anywhere in the
area that you wouldn’t go
during the day?
Abby: during the day
probably not, if I had my
husband I’d go anywhere.
What about by yourself?
Abby: I just don’t like
walking by myself at all
Jane: The people, the
people are really, really
neat. There’s a real, I feel
there’s a real community
bond here, you know a
really, a massive
community identity too,
you know people are
proud to be living here in
the community. I quite
like it I guess.
Safe and not so safe

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