Wonderful achievement for Te Tumu PhD candidateTe Tumu PhD candidate Wanda Ieremia-Allan is now bound to the UK on a University of Cambridge fellowship to research the historical legacy of the Samoan periodical, O Le Sulu Samoa, a newspaper that has been active for 184 years.
Otago’s Bulletin Board wrote a great article on Wanda’s achievement and the background of her interest in this newspaper. Click here to read more.
Te Tumu Seminar: transcending low levels of literacy and numeracy for Pacific people.
Maulupeivao Dr Betty Ofe-Grant is a lecturer from Auckland University of Technology Business School, researching Pacific peoples’ issues in labour migration, careers, glass ceilings, diversity, gender, intersectionality, literacy and numeracy and work. She is also the acting Vice President for the National Council of Women, New Zealand, and a matai (Samoan chief).
Pacific people in New Zealand are among the most disadvantaged ethnic groups who over-represent the adult working-age population with low literacy and numeracy skills. Individuals with low literacy and numeracy tend to experience higher levels of marginalisation, vulnerability, cycles of poverty and significant risks of poor health and well-being.
Tikaka in action
Tēnā rā koutou, Ni sa bula vinaka, Mālō e lelei, Talofa lava, Kia orana, Fakaalofa lahi atu.
On Friday 24 February Te Tumu welcomed two new staff members, Professor Patrick Vakaoti who is our new Dean and member of the Pacific Islands Studies team, and Dr Wahineata Smith, who is joining our Māori Studies team. A pōwhiri was held at Te Tumu following the tikaka o Kāi Tahu, the mana whenua. We are lucky to have Kare Tipa as one of our staff members who can guide us through the kawa. A big mihi too to everyone involved in the organisation of the event, especially the rika wera from the Office of Māori Development who served the delicious hāngī for lunch. After lunch there was an opportunity for people to informally speak on behalf of the two new staff. Te Tumu staff also presented a koha to Dr Emma Powell, who has just started her maternity leave.
Patrick is a well seasoned sociologist with an interest in Pacific youth, both those who are marginalised and disaffected, but also youth leadership and civic engagement. Currently, he is contemplating research that critically looks at the interface between the University and the aspirations of indigenous students, academics and the community.
Wahineata was once a student at Te Tumu, starting 21 years ago. She completed her PhD at AUT, and is returning to research after being part of the university’s schools liaison team. She is contemplating undertaking research in into families with dual and multiple ethnicities, including aspects of identity and mental wellbeing and the choice of the language[s] in their homes.
We are very lucky to have these two new additions to our staff.
Below are photos, courtesy of Keilah Fox, and Jess Pasisi. Click on images to enlarge.
Success for Te Tumu Postgrad
On Wednesday evening, 22nd February, one of our fabulous doctoral candidates, Wanda Ieremia-Allan, was awarded the Tagaloa Scholarship prize. In its second year of running, the Tagaloa Scholarship is awarded to four Pacific masters and doctoral students who are able to “demonstrate that their studies aim improve the social, economic and wellbeing of [the] Pacific, through a Pacific holistic worldview”. Wanda, who recently transferred to Te Tumu from Waikato, is in her final year of doctoral research in Pacific Studies. She is completing cutting-edge research on the impact of Sāmoan missionary newspaper O Le Sulu Samoa and its far-reaching impacts throughout the Pacific. Wanda is being supervised by University of British Columbia Professor Alice Te Punga Somerville, Otago alumni and current Director of USP’s Samoa Campus, To’oto’oleaava Dr. Fanaafi Aiono-Le Tagaloa, and Dr Jess Pasisi here in Te Tumu.
Fast-Start Marsden on Niuean Texts
Fakaalofa lahi atu!
Congratulations to Dr Jess Pasisi on being awarded a FastStart Marsden grant worth $360,000, entitled “Mapping Niue texts in and beyond Aotearoa: Expanding on New Zealand Realm connections to Niue through archival texts.” Jess (Niuean (Mutalau, Hikutavake), Pākehā, Ngāti Pikiao, and Tahitian) is Te Tumu’s most recent academic hire and is based in our Pacific Islands Studies programme, and is already a promising researcher, having been awarded a Pacific Health Postdoctoral Fellowship by the Health Research Council to investigate Niuean happiness.
Jess started putting the Mapping Niue texts project together while still based at the University of Waikato, with Professor Alice Te Punga Somerville as Associate Investigator. Professor Somerville has also moved, and is now at the University of British Columbia. She is well versed in literary projects, and Jess worked as a researcher with her in the “Writing the New World” project.
Jess’s Marsden project will be uncovering and analysing Niuean texts – with the meaning of “texts” interpreted quite broadly, comprising publications, manuscripts and other tāoga – with the aim of making these more available to Niuean people in Aotearoa New Zealand, Niue, and beyond. This also involves collaborating with Niuean communities, including cross-disciplinary work with tufuga (experts, practitioners), and encouraging Niuean people to engage with their local archives.
Research outputs include a book based on the project’s research, and the creation of a dataset of Niuean texts which will be invaluable to the wider Niuean community, as well as incoming researchers. Jess is planning three workshops as part of the project, one at Otago, one in Niue, and one at an international venue. Aligning with the aims of Marsden Fund to help develop future scholars, the project will also fund a Masters thesis scholarship, as well as some undergraduate summer scholarships.
We wish Jess well with her exciting new research project, and for a long productive career in academia.
Please also check out the Marsden Fund article for more details on Jess’s research.
Image information. Jess Pasisi wrote the poem for ‘Ko e Higoa Haaku ko Hiapo’ and Cora-Allan Lafaiki Twiss, a tagata Niue artist and practitioner, made it into an art piece that was purchased by the Auckland Museum. To read the poem, see images of the artwork, and more information, click here.
Te Tumu’s UORG success
Three Te Tumu staff, Pai Taani, Dr Telesia Kalavite and Associate Professor Karyn Paringatai, have been awarded University of Otago Research Grants (UORGs) that will allow them to undertake or further research projects.
The title of Paia Taani’s research project is “I ahatia taku reo Māori? Tracking intergenerational transmission of te reo Māori within whānau”. She says, “my own experiences of learning te reo Māori as a second language and raising my own children with the language sparked my interest to investigate what happened to my language. This research project will therefore investigate the intergenerational transmission of te reo Māori within my whānau.”
Paia’s aim is to is to contribute to the existing research and literature about the use of te reo Māori within the context of whānau. Her research includes analysing whānau narratives to examine the historical intergenerational transmission of te reo Māori and will highlight critical moments within these narratives to explore the factors which affected language transmission within her whānau. The key themes emerging from these accounts will inform future language pathways for her whānau, and may also be used to generate recommendations to offer other whānau who may be seeking to reclaim their language.
The University of Otago Research Grant will help fund travel to the North Island to undertake hui and kōrero with participants, and will also fund a research assistant to undertake transcription work.
Paia expects that she will publish at least two journal articles from her research project, and she will one conference presentation. Another expected output of this research project is a hui with her participants where she will disseminate her findings and discuss ways to move forward with future research and support for whānau wanting to reclaim their language.
Telesia Kalavite’s research project explores “The implications of changing cultural practices in Tongan wedding celebrations in New Zealand”, and how these changes impact on Tongan people’s lives in New Zealand. This project has national and international significance in understanding the development of Tongan culture and identity in the diaspora as well as the myriad cultural, social, economic, political and environmental impacts that are encompassed in Tongan wedding celebrations. It will identify and map out traditional cultural practices in Tongan weddings over time and space. This will provide a context in which to explore contemporary factors affecting Tongan wedding practices in Aotearoa.
Telesia sees this as a pilot study for a larger project in the future on how Tongan celebrations impact on Tongan people’s socio-cultural and economic development in Aotearoa New Zealand. She says “I am a Tongan researcher, and it is very important that to get this kind of research righ; there should be people with clear expertise and connection to it, like myself.”
Karyn Paringatai is collaborating with Marcelle Wharerau, formerly a Te Tumu student and staff member who is now an academic based at the Tauranga campus of Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao – Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies, University of Waikato. Their project is titled “Te Aho Tāngaengae: Māmā, Wahine, Māori, Academic”. Socio-economic stability through intergenerational mobility is a priority of whānau Māori; ensuring that future generations have full access to a range of resources that enhances intergenerational whānau wellbeing. Income, education and occupation feature predominantly in intergenerational mobility studies as primary indicators of social and economic status. However, this focus is too narrow and neglects the importance of also embedding cultural stability and responsibility. Whilst socio-economic stability and upward mobility is a priority of Māori, equally important is the intergenerational transmission of te reo Māori and tikanga Māori.
Colonisation has had profound negative effects on all aspects of te ao Māori, including maintaining intergenerational responsibilities for protecting and enhancing the mana of whānau, hapū and iwi. In this unique research, Karyn and Marcelle aim to show how the reestablishment of this intergenerational responsibility to contribute to the decolonisation of te ao Māori must be a deliberate priority and why it is of urgency to do so.
Te Aho Tāngaengae gives voice to the narratives of wāhine Māori academics who are first in family to complete higher education/university and the mechanisms they employ in the intergenerational transmission of cultural capital. Increasing the capacity, and linguistic and cultural capabilities of Māori across generations who can tangibly contribute to improving the social, economic and political wellbeing of te ao Māori must be a priority. This research is important to reveal new insights into the methods used that have the potential to accelerate transformative change within whānau for generations to come.
Opinion Piece in Newsroom
An “op-ed” from Lachy Paterson has just appeared in Newsroom, asking why New Zealand still lets fireworks off for Guy Fawkes Day, when there are far more relevant historical events from Aotearoa that we could be remembering, such as on the 5th of November when the infamous invasion of Parihaka occurred. Click here to read the article.
Two great seminars on Monday 10 Oct.
Te Tumu Research Committee has TWO great seminars coming up on Monday 10th October. Everyone is welcome to attend these events.
In the morning, Professor Rangi Mataamua (Ngāi Tūhoe) will present “Ko tātai arorangi hei kaiarataki i te rā: a Māori division of time”.
This presentation will explore a Māori understanding of time, taking into account the movements of celestial bodies, ecological factors local environmental phenomena and our unique cultural beliefs. The title for this lecture is “Ko tātai arorangi hei kaiarataki i te rā”, meaning the astronomical bodies rule over our daily activities.
This will be held in GS1 (ground floor Te Tumu) starting at 10am.
In the afternoon, Miriama Cribb (Te Ātihaunui-a-Pāpārangi) will be “Unpacking some truths of Te Awarenesses Tupua Act 2017)”. Miriama is a PhD student at Massey University.
In 2017, the Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) Act was passed, formalising a new way to view, use and understand Te Awa Tupua—the Whanganui River. Five years since its passing and there continues to be a lot more unpacking needed to fully comprehend and understand the Te Awa Tupua Act and the drivers and intentions informing its design. This seminar attempts to unpack some of the truths of the Te Awa Tupua Act by debunking some common misconceptions and reminding ourselves how the act differs from other legislative, political, managerial, social, cultural, and governance arrangements. The reflections shared here have been collated throughout Miriama’s time as a former trustee of Ngā Tāngata Tiaki (the post-settlement governance entity for the Whanganui River), a doctoral student studying the implementation of Te Awa Tupua Act in non-Indigenous organisations, and as a hapū (sub-tribe) member engaged in community affairs at a local level.
This seminar will be at 3-4pm, in blended format: in person in R3S10 (3rd floor of Te Tumu), and on zoom. Click here to join the zoom. Password is 126692.
Te Tumu welcomes new lecturer
Fakaalofa ahi atu!
On Wednesday 7 September, Te Tumu welcomed our newest staff member, Dr Jess Pasisi, who is of Niuean descent, as well as Pākehā, Ngāti Pikiao and Tahitian roots.
This was also an opportunity to welcome and acknowledge Maioha Watson (Ngāti Maniapoto) who has been doing an excellent job teaching MAOR308 this semester.
The pōwhiri followed tikanga Māori, but also incorporated Pacific elements as well, with Niuean speeches and a performance by our Pacific coordinator Telesia Kalavite alongside Tongan students, as well as Pacific food for the hākari. Special thanks must also go to Maioha, the kaikōrero for the manuhiri, Neihana Matiu who spoke for the tangata whenua, and Kare Tipa who had held waiata classes for staff, and who kept us to tikanga.
Jess is currently finishing off a Health Research Council funded postdoctoral studies on Niuean wellbeing and happiness that she started while at the University of Waikato. She also has research interests in climate change in the Pacific, and the Pacific countries that make up the New Zealand realm (Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau).
Some Waikato postgraduate students and staff came with Jess to hand her over to Te Tumu. Dunedin-based people may well remember Marcelle Wharerau, who worked and studied in Te Tumu, gaining an MA in Indigenous Development. After the pōwhiri, these guests attended a ‘conversation’ organised by Dr Emma Powell, together with a number of Te Tumu staff. Everyone had some time to share their research and discuss some of their experiences within academia.
Te Tumu is very pleased to have Jess joining our Pacific Islands Studies team, and look forward to what she can bring us. Fakaaue lahi!
This Saturday (20 August) is graduation day. It is always wonderful when Te Tumu students graduate, but especially postgraduate students. Completing an Honours, Masters, or Doctoral degree requires a huge amount of determination, because it encompasses a significant piece of self-directed research. A dissertation or thesis is not easy task. He mihi tēnei hei whakahōnore i ngā tāngata kua whakaoti i taua haerenga.
“He Kohinga Kōrero: A Selected Group of Māori Musicians and Performers’ Experiences of
the 1960s Through the Māori Showband Movement,” is grounded in Māori Studies but
informed by previous research in Ethnomusicology. The written component of this thesis is
partnered with my nominated creative component Tutuku. Tutuku is a digital archive created alongside “He Kohinga Kōrero,” which uses the research gained as informed commentary within the digital archive.
This thesis creates a new understanding of the Māori Showband identity and success.
Scholarly research surrounding this popular musical movement is sparse. The first part of this thesis investigates the cultural and social climate for Māori before 1960 that lead to the
opportunities and emergence of this musical movement. Chapter one introduces the digital archive and discusses the barriers to accessing stories and knowledge. It also lays down the ground work of the research methods used and the importance of kaupapa Māori research methodologies.