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Last Updated: 07/08/21

Biobanking for Precision Medicine Seminar Series

Dr. Helen Morrin: Becoming a Culturally Responsive Biobank: A Journey with the Indigenous Mâori People of New Zealand

February 24, 2021

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Abstract: New Zealand is bicultural and has an ethical, legal, and moral requirements to incorporate the indigenous Mâori people’s cultural values into the nation’s biobanking practices. With consultation, we have partnered and undertaken a 20-year journey with the Mâori to address concerns, such as:

  • The desire for tissue to remain in New Zealand.
  • Culturally appropriate tissue handling practices.
  • Specimen return or disposal with a karakia (blessing).
  • The concept of collective ownership of genes and data, which presents extra challenges in the new era of globalization and databanks.

This presentation will reflect on the biobank’s journey navigating key issues and look to the future. We will describe the culturally inclusive operational procedures that the biobank and its stakeholders have developed, both within the tertiary hospital and within the cancer biobank, that have assisted in Mâori being comfortable with donating their tissues and data and how Mâori guardianship is incorporated into all aspects of the biobank.