The highest level(s) of influence this method typically matches with on the IAP2 public participation spectrum is…


To provide the public with balanced and objective information.


To obtain public feedback on analysis, alternatives and/or decisions.


To work directly with the public throughout the process.


To partner with the public in each aspect of the decision.


To place final decision making in the hands of the public.

Main Focus
Collect and compile input & bring people together
Small (2hrs - 1 day)
Minimal (1-3) staff members
Low cost (under 10k)
Small scale (under 25)

A talanoa is an open, informal conversation between people who share their stories, thoughts and feelings (Vaioleti, 2006). Talanoa is a Pasifika research method that reflects the lived realities of Pasifika participants, rather than reproduce what are seen as Western methods of research. 

‘Tala’ means ‘to talk or tell stories’ and ‘noa’ means ‘anything or in general’ (Akber 2017). As a Pasifika process, talanoa has become a popular research method, often likened to narrative interviews.

Please read this information sheet before proceeding.

*IAP2 like many organisations, is on a continuous learning journey with engagement and in particular Maori, Pasifika and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement. We will continue to update this page as we learn and grow and encourage our members to reach out and suggest improvements and updates.

What you'll need

In-person Delivery

  • Carefully selected culturally appropriate venue 
  • Staff with cultural competencies and understanding of protocols, and a deep respect for Pasifika people, their culture and history (or a willingness to learn)
  • Researchers and Pasifika participants
  • Ample time built into the process for a deep, respectful conversation
  • Food to share

How to guide

A Talanoa ‘prioritises Pacific ways of communicating and is culturally prescribed, cooperative and respectful’ (Akber 2017). A talanoa needs to enable story-telling, face-to-face conversation, exchange of ideas and experiences. Researchers must be deeply involved in the process and not separate to it, and participants can lead the speaking turns. 

This method was used as part of a community-based participatory action research project to explore diabetes amongst Pasifika women. The talanoa process included the following steps: 

  • conceptualisation and entry
  • foundation of values to guide the conversation: including respect, trust, spirituality, empathy, family, community, reciprocity, humility and collective.
  • data collection phase
  • data analysis
  • reporting outcomes
  • transformative processes and change

The following principles of Talanoa apply in a research context:

  1. Community engagement- setting the agenda using appropriate protocols; 
  2. Maintaining relationships with communities, families and individuals; 
  3. Local and cultural context –etiquettes and cultural protocols (determines how talanoa is sought or used); 
  4. Flexibility- undefined timeframe or agenda; 
  5. Location, setting and time are significant; 
  6. Creating safe space – vā ( trust, mutual respect, reciprocity and spirituality); 
  7. Community benefits and transformative.

Vaioleti, 2006