The indigenous development research agenda is centred on understanding and affecting social change. Kaupapa Māori theory (research theory and methodology that is uniquely Māori) and critical discourse analysis are two theoretical and methodological frameworks that can contribute to this broad agenda. The two frameworks are connected through critical theory, transdisciplinary approaches to research, tino rangatiratanga (chieftainship) and, most significantly, actualizing social change. As a Māori researcher I work alongside Māori communities and the process is non- linear and “messy”, which is the reality of working with communities. Kaupapa Māori theory provides me with the space for Māori - focused research within the academy, and critical discourse analysis is another tool I utilize to further the aspirations of the Māori communities I work alongside. In this paper I draw from an example of my research in Māori fisheries management to argue that critical discourse analysis offers researchers a framework that complements and strengthens the analysis within kaupapa Māori theory and methodology.