This whakataukī speaks to Māori perspectives of time, where the past, the present and the future are viewed as intertwined, and life as a continuous cosmic process (Rameka, L, 2016). The whakataukī has been selected to underpin the 2022 conference, we acknowledge the past - the contributions of those who have come before and whose achievements have shaped our thinking and practices today. We walk into the future reflecting on where we have come from and how far, what we have achieved and learned, how we have changed, and the challenges in front of us. The future suggests a world shaped by Covid-19, critical environmental and societal challenges and amplified technological development. We are also experiencing generational change and shifting worldviews as Aotearoa stands at the forefront of indigenous reclamation. We continue to examine the role of evaluation in society, exploring its position as influencers of change.

Our aim for the conference

ANZEA Conference 2022 | 10-12 October 2022 | Te Papa, Wellington

As major change is upon us, our whakataukī reminds us that the past is central to present and future Aotearoa. We reflect upon the past to provide inspiration and guidance in how we successfully adapt to the future. This requires a critical lens while maintaining honesty, humility, and a genuine desire to make a difference for the future. With this in mind, we are aiming for participants to:

  • Be reflective
  • Be challenged
  • Have eyes-opened
  • Engage with peers, across disciplines and cultures
  • Heightened awareness, engagement and acknowledgement of Māori and Pacific evaluation perspectives and practice
  • Be armed with practical tools- ‘the doing’ of evaluation
  • Be inspired to support meaningful change.

Our commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi)

The ANZEA 2022 conference is underpinned by Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Signed in 1840, we understand Te Tiriti as a legal agreement outlining a relationship between tangata whenua, the people of the land, and tangata tiriti, the people of the Treaty (Newcombe, 2019). As such, Māori as the indigenous people of Aotearoa, comprising nations of hapū and iwi, have special status and special rights under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

With this understanding, we will deliver a conference which seeks to build relationships with tangata whenua in a way that is mutually beneficial. This includes centring relationships around trust and committing to open, constructive, challenging conversations while maintaining a shared interest and vision for the ANZEA 2022 conference and its outcomes. We will support tangata whenua in equal opportunities to fully engage across all phases including conference preparation, implementation, and follow-up. This includes promoting tangata whenua voices and integrating key methodological and theoretical arguments grounded in indigenous perspectives across conference streams and accessible to all audiences.

The ANZEA conference committee is committed to delivering a conference which challenges participants. This involves the exploration of differing worldviews and acknowledgement of power relationships, including those which dominate Western knowledge. While critical, the conference committee acknowledges that these discussions must be managed appropriately, respecting the rights and sanctity of tangata whenua.

Looking back 

In 2006, ANZEA was established with a goal to promote and facilitate the development of evaluation practices and standards that are relevant to the unique to Aotearoa New Zealand, with reference to the principles and obligations established by Te Tiriti o Waitangi. ANZEA sought to promote excellence in evaluation, support safe and high-quality evaluative services, facilitate debate, encourage an exchange of ideas and disseminate knowledge specific to the
unique needs of local communities. Branch networks and regular conferences were established to stimulate debate and research on evaluation practice and its role in Aotearoa New Zealand. In addition, efforts to enhance evaluation capacity within local, global contexts and Māori and Pacific communities were initiated (ANZEA 2020-21 Annual Review, n.d.; Schumacher, J et al., 2006).

Sixteen years on, much has been gained. There are now 500+ members, a professional journal ‘Evaluation Matters—He Take Tō Te Aromatawai’, and an active branch network (Schumacher, J et al., 2006). Until recently, professional training in the form of a Postgraduate Diploma was available through Massey University. ANZEA also highly values its partnership with Pasifika Fono (the primary coordinator of Pacific evaluation activities for ANZEA) and Mā te Rae (the
Māori Evaluation Association of Aotearoa). Network links with The Australasian Evaluation Society (AES) and international evaluation societies have been critical in helping establish the profession, the building of disciplinary collegiality, the sharing knowledge and skills, and growing awareness of the unique elements of doing evaluation in Aotearoa New Zealand. The support of government agencies and encouragement of agency staff participation in professional activities has been vital. As has the support of academics from each of New Zealand’s universities, and the professional leadership of private evaluation/research companies.

With this foundation, members have been actively engaged internationally and locally in building an understanding of theory, methods and methodologies, and the translation of evaluation findings into operational decision-making and policy.

Looking forward

Just as there is much to celebrate, there are significant challenges facing evaluation in Aotearoa New Zealand. There is no longer a formal tertiary qualification, and only a small range of tertiary courses that cover evaluation as part of the course content. Evaluation capacity-building is reliant on either the international market, or the opportunities that ANZEA and other organisations make available. Questions about the vulnerability of entryways into the evaluation profession are being asked as experienced evaluators look to retirement. Meanwhile, worldviews are shifting as a new generation enters the professional domain.

At a time when evaluation services appear to be more in demand than ever before, confusion about what evaluation is appears to be rising. Government agency expectations about the pace of evaluation work, the questions asked, and the reporting of evaluation is causing some members to question if the profession has moved too far, in adjusting language and methods, to be relevant, understood, and heard in decision-making.

Further discussions around whether there is a role for social activism, or if social activism undermines a ‘professional ethos of independence and scientific rigour’ are being asked. Indigenous revitalisation and reclamation are underway of which decolonising Western constructs of knowledge and research is an essential component. In this regard, the evaluation profession is asking how it can keep pace with these discussions or risk becoming obsolete.


ANZEA (n.d.). ANZEA 2020-21 Annual Review.

Goodwin, D., & Were, L. (2015). Cultural fit: An important criterion for effective interventions and evaluation work.

Newcombe, N.I. (2019). How pākehā in not-for-profit organisations implement te tiriti o waitangi [Doctoral dissertation], The University of Waikato.

Rameka, L. (2016). Kia whakatōmuri te haere whakamua: ‘I walk backwards into the future with my eyes fixed on my past.’ Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 17(4), 387–398.

Schumacher, J, Mujumdar, D, Howard, C, Stone, G, & Davie, S. (2006). Aotearoa New Zealand Evaluation Conference Report. Aotearoa New Zealand Evaluation Conference.

Treaty Resource Centre (2016). Ngā rerenga o te tiriti: community organisation engaging with treaty of waitangi.