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Limited Impact Evaluation for the Waikato Rural Drink Drive Project

The Waikato Rural Drink Drive Project (WRDDP) was a formative evaluation project funded by ALAC and run by APHRU from 1996 to 1998. The WRDDP consisted of a working committee made up of professionals from interested agencies and representatives of the Maori community. The agency officers included police, liquor licensing, road safety, health promotion, land transport and APHRU.
The committee was associated with a range of initiatives including the "Booze Bus" police enforcement, the continuation of the Last Drink Survey, the establishment of an Information Officer position to collate data, the Waka Taua project, the provision of host responsibility education and a school-based poster/calendar competition.
Seventeen key informants, most of whom worked for statutory authorities or Maori community agencies, contributed data to this qualitative study conducted in August and September 1998 as a limited impact evaluation of the Waikato Rural Drink Drive Project. 7 Maori and 10 Pakeha recorded interviews with culturematched interviewers. Interviews were transcribed and these data evaluated using a discursive approach.
Four theoretical constructs emergent from the research literature - community capacity, authentic partnership, self-reliance and sustainability - were the focus of the interviews. Informants' responses as to the relevance of these constructs in their experiences with the WRDDP, were sought.
Analyses also focused on the four constructs and sought to describe the themes and facets of each. An additional construct, kaupapa, emerged from the Maori data as a organising principle for placing drink driving within a Maori framework.
In addition, the data were considered in an impact evaluation framework that considered knowledge about WRDDP, changes to ideology, changes to relevant environments and effectiveness.
Community capacity, in the context of the WRDDP, was conceptualised in both Maori and Pakeha data, as a feature of rural communities, but also as a property of community members who worked in locally based statutory authorities.
Capacity in the case of rural communities, was constructed in terms of networks, awareness, established practices and ideology. In the case of the agency officers capacity was perceived as constituted in the expertise, training, resources, programmes, policies, laws and regulations, that pertained to the agency and the particular personnel.
Partnership was seen as a vital component of the WRDDP. However for Pakeha, partnership between agencies and grassroots was rare and most of the activity took the form of co-ordination and liaison between agency officers. For Maori, partnership, particularly in the context of the Waka Taua project, occurred between and among Maori communities.
Self-reliance was very important in the development of Maori initiatives on drink driving and was epitomised in the 'by Maori for Maori' approach of the Waka Taua project. For Pakeha self-reliance seemed to be an unfamiliar term to informants and this difficulty was compounded by the substantial overlap with the concept of capacity.
Sustainability of the WRDDP and the Waka Taua project was conceptualised in terms of the internal and external influences. The leadership, commitment and quality of work done were the internal factors. Funding, policy and the bureaucratic climate were seen as external factors, which would determine whether the gains under the WRDDP were sustainable.
Kaupapa, for Maori informants, framed drink driving for Maori, drawing upon the concepts of identity and tikanga to provide the rationale and content of the Waka Taua project.
Impact evaluation showed that informants perceived that the public of rural Waikato districts had a strong awareness of some of the activities and goals of the WRDDP. Similarly the Maori community was aware of and supportive of the Waka Taua project.
Informants shared a broad perception that there had been a 'sea change' in public awareness and attitudes to drink driving which amounted to an emergent safety culture. This had resulted in an array of behaviours, including drinking less, consuming food at venues and not drinking and driving.
Drinking environments, in particular licensed premises but also some private venues were seen to have been modified in the course of the WRDDP. The nexus of Last Drink Survey, liquor licensing and host responsibility education was seen to have resulted in less alcohol being served and lower strength nonalcoholic drinks being more widely available. The serving of food and the advocacy and, in some, instances arrangement of sober driver transport were also visible changes.
Perceived effectiveness of both WRDDP and Waka Taua was signalled by the fact that both projects have been assured of continuity through ongoing funding by local authorities.
Researchers: Tim McCreanor, Helen Moewaka Barnes, Trevor Mathews
Research report: Limited Impact Evaluation for the Waikato Rural Drink Drive Project
Peer Review: Internal

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