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Category Archives: Pacific Islands Studies

MIndS students’ success

It’s graduation this coming Saturday (21 Aug), and Te Tumu is lucky to have three Master of Indigenous Studies students who are graduating.   This is always a wonderful occasion for graduates themselves, as well as their families and their supervisors.

Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai (Sāmoa) was until recently the Manager of the University of Otago’s Pacific Islands Centre. She is currently the Inaugural Manager of Pacific Community Engagement, University of Otago, based in Auckland. This is a new role that the University of Otago established this year.

Research Title: “The Development of the Pacific Islands Centre at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand: A  Personal Reflection”.

Supervisor: Telesia Kalavite

Abstract:  “The purpose of a Centre for Pacific students is to seek and find ways whereby meanings, nuances and metaphors in Pacific cultures can speak to the heart, the soul and the mind of the students. The challenge here, as in other places, lies in how to articulate speech and writing to get meanings, nuances and metaphors of Pacific cultures within a monocultural academic environment” (Comment by His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta‘isi Efi‘s inauguration speech at the formal opening of the Pacific Islands Centre, University of Otago, in 2003).

The establishment of the Pacific Islands Centre (PIC) in 2001 was a response by the University of Otago (UO) to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) initiatives to ensure the success of its Pacific students. Pacific Islands people’s participation in New Zealand society, including education, is still lagging behind that of the general population since the late 1960s. The PIC was the first-ever centre within New Zealand Tertiary Education Organisations (TEOs) and this year, 2021, marks its 20th anniversary. The PIC creates pathways for students’ success at the UO reflecting the government’s continuous attempt to improve the success rate of Pacific peoples in the education system. The PIC strongly becomes the impetus to lead and implement support for Pacific students and staff through its engagement with the UO and Pacific communities locally, nationally, regionally and internationally.

This research takes an autoethnographic Pacific approach. Autoethnographic because it documents my reflections as the inaugural Manager of the PIC since 2002; Pacific because it is a Pacific-focused centre, operated by Pacific staff for Pacific students and, most importantly, I, the researcher am Samoan, and of Pacific decent. My voice becomes central in documenting the Centre’s developmental history because when I first started as the pioneer of the PIC there was no specific Pacific model to build on, or strategic framework or manual to guide it. This research therefore, is basically grounded on Pacific philosophies of attitudes, views, ideas, values, beliefs, customs, traditions, practices and experiences of the researcher.

The PIC is significant for the educational development of Pacific students and staff at the UO. This research documents the journey of the PIC in terms of its history, developmental strategic plans, practices and reviews that enhance the success of everyone involved. This research is unique and authentic in its approach as it provides first-hand information on how the PIC nurtures Pacific Islands students in their academic journeys. It also adds value to the development of educational strategic directions of the UO to benefit both Pacific and non-Pacific communities at Otago, New Zealand, the Pacific region, and the world.

 

Renee Tuifagalele (Fiji) is currently working as a research assistant at the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER), with a main focus on Pacific education here in Aotearoa.
Research title: Vasu: A Case Study of the Intergenerational Understandings and Experiences of an Indigenous Fijian Family
Supervisor: Michael Reilly
Abstract:  Vasu is a Fijian term that acknowledges the maternal lineage of an individual and the privileges that come with it. Over time the understandings, uses and practices involving it have changed. In order to comprehend what vasu is now understood as, an inter-generational case study has been conducted with a family that focuses on their understandings and experiences of it.

The first generation consists of the maternal and paternal grandparents of the author, in which they discuss vasu in its political definition of ‘half-caste’ or of mixed ethnic heritage. This generation will also elaborate on contributing themes to vasu, such as their relationships with their kinship groups, languages/dialects and their Fijian identity. As this generation is the only group to have regular visits and contact with their rural villages, vasu will be viewed through this lens.

The next generation is of the author’s parents and they will also discuss themes such as their own Fijian identity, as well as the role of Fijian women, domestic workers and accessibility to the village. This particular generation is part of the urban migration and will reflect over vasu with this viewpoint.

Finally, the last generation is of the author’s and her maternal and paternal first-cousins. The supporting themes for this generation’s understanding of vasu are customary Fijian relationships and concepts, mixed ethnicity and the use of Fijian language and knowledge. This generation is a part of the Fijian diaspora in New Zealand and will be using this perspective in sharing their understandings and experiences of vasu. Eventually, similar elements and concepts will be highlighted, with each generation sharing their own narratives on what vasu is to them. Despite the different time periods and physical contexts, the prominence of the maternal lineage has proven to play a significant role in every generation of this family, particularly in a patriarchal society that is known to Fiji.

 

 Nicola (Nicky) Andrews (Ngāti Pāoa) Nicky is currently a faculty librarian at the University of San Francisco where she teaches undergraduates how to do research; and work on other projects including research into Indigenous information literacy. She is open to pursuing a PhD in the future.

Nicky was initially supervised by the late Alumita Durutalo.  Paerau Warbrick took over during the research design and interview phase, and Erica Newman supervised her work during the bulk of the writing and revising phase. Nicky is thankful to all three for their work and care.  She will graduate in absentia.

Research title: “Historical Trauma, Indigenous People, and Libraries.”

Abstract: Historical trauma theory (HTT) built on understanding of Holocaust survivors and subsequent generations (Pihama et. al., 2014) and articulated how colonization and genocide against Indigenous peoples also resulted in historical trauma and intergenerational grief (Brave Heart & DeBruyn, 1998; Methot, 2019). In this research report, I examine how modern libraries reinforce historical trauma for Indigenous library users and workers through library origins, professional credentialing, staffing demographics, and policies. While historical trauma theory is rooted in social work (Brave Heart & DeBruyn, 1998), it is applicable to librarianship as a profession of public service that impacts Indigenous access to knowledge and self-discovery.

I conducted my research using kaupapa Māori and autoethnography frameworks, to interview five Indigenous librarians from Aotearoa, Canada, and the United States. Over Zoom, participants detailed their unique experiences as Indigenous people using libraries, studying library science, and working in libraries.

Participants spoke candidly about the racism and microaggressions they routinely encounter; and the isolating nature of often being the only Indigenous worker in their team or place of employment. In particular, participants recounted how historical trauma resurfaced when facing inadequate resources to support Indigenous knowledge, or when organizations reinforced policies that conflicted with Indigenous practices and worldviews.

However, participants also described hope and progress towards equity, aligning with contemporary shifts toward valuing Indigenous peoples in libraries. I make and acknowledge several recommendations in this report ranging from practical changes to library policies and practices, to frameworks to address historical trauma within library spaces. These practices can be applied beyond libraries into higher education, government work, and other sectors.

This Reseach can be accessed through OUR Archive.

Te Tumu would also like to congratulate Pipi Royal who will be graduating with their BA in Māori Studies.

 

Dr Kalavite features on two international panels

Recently Dr Telesia Kalavite was invited to participate in two online international panel discussions on the 4th, and 5th of August,

She was first invited by Fola-he Ngalu Online Media Network, a Free Weslyan Church of Tonga (Siasi Uesiliana Tau‘atāina ‘o Tonga) online platform, to discuss the topic: “The advice for parents of internet generations to help them understand what it means for their children to be proud of their Tongan identity within and outside of Tonga”. (“Ko e fale‘i, ke tokoni ki he mātu‘a ‘o e to‘utangata Tonga ko eni ‘o e Ope pē ‘Initaneti, kenau ongo‘i ‘oku mahu‘inga kenau ke i pōlepole pē ‘i honau Tonga, ‘o tatau pē ‘i Tonga pea mo muli, (‘I loto-Tonga mo tu‘a-Tonga)”.

Her focus in this panel was on her perspective as a Tongan mother and educator on what it means for this internet generation to be rooted in their Tongan culture.  “Pe koehā ‘ene vakai ki he mahu‘inga ‘a hotau ‘ulungaanga faka-Tonga ‘i Tonga (loto-Tonga), ‘i he kuonga pē to‘utangata ko eni ‘o e ‘Initaneti/Vahaope” This panel was mostly in the Tongan language and can be found on the Network’s website, on Youtube, and Facebook.

Telesia was also invited by THE (Times Higher Education) Live ANZ 2021 International Conference, to be one of the panelists on the topic: “Indigenous Knowledge and the Western academy: Reflections from the field”.

Her focus in this panel was on her research, knowledge and experience on Pacific success in New Zealand Higher Education. Click here for the link to this panel.

Dr Kalavite is the Coordinator for Te Tumu’s Pacific Islands Studies programme. It is wonderful to see Te Tumu staff sharing their knowledge to wider audiences, and helping to meet the goals of the university’s Pacific Strategic Framework.

 

Michelle Schaaf offers commentary on Dawn Raids apology

It is great when Te Tumu academics are called upon to comment on important national events as they happen.  Yesterday the Prime Minister made an formal apology for the dawn raids of the 1970s when Pasifika people were indiscriminately targeted by the police and officials as “overstayers”.  The PM also took part in an ifoga ceremony to assist with healing these traumatic events.  Click here for the full One News account, with extensive commentary from Pacific Islands Studies lecturer, Dr. Michelle Schaaf.

2020 Te Tumu Research Round-up

Well, it’s been a weird year for everyone, and the coronavirus certainly made our work harder, with a lot of our energy going into making sure we were able to still offer quality teaching to our students.  We have also had a number of staff move on to greener pastures:  Jim Williams and Lyn Carter retired; Gianna Leoni left us to take up a research role with Te Hiku (where former colleague Suzanne Duncan also works); Megan Pōtiki has shifted to the Office of Māori Development in the university; and Poia Rewi has taken up the Tumu Whakarae (CEO) position at Te Mātāwai.  So we are expecting to see a bunch of fresh faces in the new year.

Research has still carried on.  As the Chair of our Research Committee, Michelle Schaaf says,Despite Covid, the retirement and departure of staff;  the research committee’s commitment to building a successful research culture continues and owes its success to the oversight and guidance provided by senior staff directly. The committee continues to  monitor staff research activity and promotes staff research through various mediums: research website long running and informative Research Blog.”

We also asked staff to tell us about their research, and what they’ve been up to.  Here are their replies.

Karyn Paringatai’s Marsden

Dr Karyn Paringatai

Karyn is lead investigator on the Marsden project: E kore au e ngaro! The enduring legacy of whakapapa (awarded $823,000), which looks at the importance of whakapapa in health, in particular to whānau that carry the cancer-causing hereditary mutation in the CDH1 gene. 

2020 started with good intentions to advance my Marsden research with a lot of face-to-face engagement sessions planned, but those plans fizzled quickly during the March-April lockdown. But things have picked up during the second half of the year with a lot of gusto. In September I met with Maybelle McLeod, Pauline Harawira and Erin Gardiner from Kimihauora Health and Research Centre in Tauranga to co-develop a research topic for future PhD student, Kahurangi Salu. Pauline and Maybelle were two of the four lead investigators of the research project that discovered the CDH1 gene mutation. A conversation with Pauline went as follows:

Pauline: “My mother was from Hicks Bay.”

Me: “Oh wow.”

Pauline: “Yeah her younger brother, we called him Uncle Boy, his first name was Manuhou. His middle name was Paringatai. He was named after that koroua that died in the war.”

FUN FACT: My whānau are based just over the hill from Hick’s Bay. My daughter is called Manuhou Paringatai. She was named after that same koroua who died in the war, my grandfather’s first cousin. Whakawhanaungatanga – well and truly achieved.

Check out this short video featuring Karyn and the wider project.

This meeting coincided with a wider whānau hui. It was an opportunity to speak to whānau, canvas opinions, make connections, and recruit participants. The concerns they expressed were echoed in my research objectives. As a result I have been involved in developing a post-surgery nutrition research project and a funding proposal for a Kaihautū – someone who will help develop a pre- and post-surgery management care plan that takes in to account Māori realities. Watch this space……

 

Michelle Schaaf’s research

Dr Michelle Schaaf

The Covid pandemic really pushed me to think of what the different ways are, that I could have students demonstrate what they know.  There’s been a lot of me letting go of control, to try and build resilient and more-independent students.  Teaching remotely also made me look at my own course  content with fresh eyes.  In terms of my research, I was forced to be adaptable, and implement strategies to mitigate the long-term impact of research disruptions.

new Publications

UORG: “Childhood in a changing Pacific”

Freeman, R.M. Schaff, C. Ergler, M. Kivalu, A. Niusulu, T. Tua’a and H. Tanielu, Childhood in Changing Pacific’ Summary Research Report August 2020, (Summary Research Report), Dunedin: School of Geography, University of Otago.

Childhood in Changing Pacific’ Summary Research Report Presentation and Exhibition.  10 November 2020. This was a report presentation to participants and their families, in Dunedin and Samoa, on campus and via zoom platform.  See here for more.

Articles submitted

“Kinship and belonging: Pacific children’s perspectives on the diaspora” to the Childhood Journal.

“Connections to community and culture, a photographic analysis of place attachment amongst Pacific Island children” submitted to Children’s Geographies.

 

Telesia Kalavite’s latest article

Dr Telesia Kalavite

Telesia has recently published an article, “Toungāue cooperative pedagogy for Tongan tertiary students’ success” in the Waikato Journal of Education, 25, 1 (2020).  You can read it here.Toungāue cooperative pedagogy

Abstract

Cooperative Pedagogy specific to Tongans can enhance students’ academic success in New Zealand’s tertiary education. Tongan students’ success depends on teachers’ recognition and understanding of Tongan students’ sociocultural context which involves their pule‘anga (bureaucracy), famili/kāinga (family), siasi (church) and fonua (country) relationships. Tongan students should not be treated within the Pacific groupings because ‘Pacific’ is a term of convenience for peoples who originate from different countries in the Pacific region whose cultures are uniquely different from one another. The term ‘Pacific’ tends to make these students live in the shadow of being treated as if they have the same needs in the classroom. The culturally specific needs of Pacific students are obscured by the assumption that they are homogenous. Academics and educational authorities in New Zealand need to recognise the importance of Pacific students’ culturally specific needs in their educational environments to move towards solving the problems of underachievement. This article explores the use of a culturally specific Tongan Toungāue Cooperative Pedagogy for teaching Tongan students in New Zealand tertiary education. Toungāue Cooperative Pedagogy is rooted in Tongan students’ sociocultural context which is at the heart of the Tongan society. More importantly, this proposed Toungāue Cooperative Pedagogy is transferable and could also be beneficial to other Pacific and Indigenous cultures.

Keywords

Toungāue cooperative pedagogy; Tonga tertiary students’ success; Pacific diversity; Pacific ethnic special needs.

 

Tangiwai Rewi’s projects.

Dr Tangiwai Rewi

Most of the research related mahi I have been consumed by since 1 July has involved the 0.2 FTE Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga co-management of the Te Pāpanga Te Reo Māori, Ngā Tikanga Māori (TRMNTM) mahi along with Dr Gianna Leoni with the departure of Professor Poia Rewi.  The list includes:

  1. Running a Te Kōrerorero a Ngā Tumu Whakarae webinar hosted on the last day of Māori Language week 18 September 2020 to encourage eight CEO’s to share their ideas about working together for te reo Māori research under Te Papa Kōrero. The purpose of Te Papa Kōrero is to provide coordination and leadership for the implementation of both Maihi (Maihi Māori and Maihi Karauna) in respect of the Māori language strategy. We managed a 50% success rate by  confirming Shane Taurima (Māori Television), Larry Parr (Te Māngai Pāho), Dr Poia Rewi (Te Mātāwai) and Ngahiwi Apanui (Te Taurawhiri) to participate in the session facilitated by Dr Gianna Leoni and myself (from Te Tumu at the University of Otago),  in our roles as the NPM Co-Managers of Te Reo & Ngā Tikanga Māori Platform. We aim to invite the other four Chief Executives of Te Puni Kōkiri; the Ministry of Education; the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and the Department of Internal Affairs, who were unavailable on this occasion, to join another webinar at a later date.
  2. N03 Project Te Reo me ngā Tikanga Māori – Named Scholarship – Professor Wharehuia Milroy; Understanding, articulating and measuring the language shift at the micro-level  As part of the Ngā Pae o te Maramatanga Summer Internship Projects 2020-21 we were asked to develop, organise and then manage and supervise this named scholarship to recognise the scholarship and leadership of the late Te Wharehuia Milroy to the revitalisation and normalisation te reo me ngā tikanga Māori.  In doing so, the intern will review and develop an understanding of Milroy’s research and scholarship, that is specific to te reo Māori normalisation and excellence. Dr Gianna Leoni will be the NPM Investigator who will work alongside Ria Tomoana (Kaiwhakahaere Rangahau – Te Mātāwai) to supervise the student.
  3. The third  project we have been doing is our Collectivising Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga Publications which we presented on at the 9th Biennial International Indigenous Ngā Pae o te Maramatanga (NPOTM) conference online 18-20 November.  In three phases, the first produced punchy, attention grabbing abstracts summarising the articles.The second attributes keywords to the articles along with word clouds.  To ensure accessibility after these two phases, the third phase thematicises the lists so that any person wanting to know what articles are published in each issue can search via content themes. Phase 1 comes to an end this year while phases 2 and 3 will look at completion by end of April 2021.

On a personal research note:

  • I continue to push through with my Tuupuna Times research project holding wānanga for whānau and hapū on request, on how to collect stories from their tuupuna.
  • My research plan for RSL is a little off beam given the attention to the Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga workload. However, the next two months will be busy getting that back on track, assisted gratefully by the Te Koronga continued funding support of $5000 development grant this year and recent success with my UORG application  He Whakapakari Ake i Te Tuakiri Maaori  of $11, 434  which takes effect 1 January 2021.
  • I contributed a Māori perspective to a paper, Ko tā te Māori aronga ki te whakamātao kikiri. A Māori perspective on embryo cryopreservation, which is currently being reviewed by the lead author.
  • I still have two articles to complete by the start of next year!

That’s it!

 

What is Michael Reilly doing?

Professor Michael Reilly

Since 2019 I have off and on been working on a Māori tribal history manuscript.  It currently is organised around the chief themes of tribal traditions: creation, culture heroes, the waka migrations, and the stories about the many generations of descendants who settled and populated this new country.  The latter extends over a wide range of topics such as rangatiratanga or leadership; mana wāhine, mana tāne or gender relationships; and possibly, the place of emotion words such as whakamā, or shame, and pōuri, or grief. Each chapter is organised around a selection of traditions on the topic from different iwi.  Attention is paid to southern traditions where possible.  These traditions are normally taken from published sources, often collections of traditions with a limited analysis or explanation of the content of the narratives.

My aim is to provide the cultural context of these stories in order to help the modern reader understand the layers of meaning found within each text.  This often involves an immersion in older ethnographic works by the likes of Elsdon Best, Te Rangihīroa and Raymond Firth who put on record information shared with them by generations of Māori scholars.  By locating the texts within this ethnographic record, I can better peel back the layers of meaning found in each of the stories.  To me, it opens a window upon that ancient world of the ancestors, Te Ao Kōhatu, the Stone World, as Bruce Biggs once described it.  This approach resembles the kind of work I have been pursuing for some years, both in Aotearoa and in the wider world of Ancient East Polynesia, notably Mangaia.

Behind this approach lies an influential model: Erich Auerbach’s Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature.  He began writing it while in exile as a German Jew teaching in Turkey during the Second World War.  Each of his chapters selects a passage from an author, from Homer through to Virginia Woolf.  He uses each of them to explore ideas about how Western literature has sought to represent the world.  His aims differ from mine but some of his methods have encouraged me to try and explore the totality of Māori traditions from its beginnings in time down perhaps as far as the edgy beginnings of modern Aotearoa, ending however, in the early nineteenth century when Māori understandings of their world remained dominant.  For it is their story after all I am interested in.

More recently, I have initiated other smaller projects after approaches to provide publications either for edited books or journals.  One looks at emotions in Oceania, drawing on selected texts from particular Island societies, including Mangaia and Aotearoa, that illustrate important concepts such as love, shame and grief.  I am also interested in comparing the different words used to describe the human organ or centre of emotions, such as ngākau and manawa.

Currently, with the help of a research assistant, Jade Higgan McCaughan, I am examining evidence found in the songs published in the four volumes of Ngā Mōteatea, edited by Apirana Ngata and other scholars. Another project was prompted by plans to celebrate the coming of the London Missionary Society to the Cook Islands.  I decided to look at some letters by a 19th century Mangaian church minister, Mamae.  In one he describes his experience of a hurricane, while in others he gently criticises the editing of local texts by his colleague, William Wyatt Gill; an interesting case of the native speaking back.  We see Mamae as a skilled writer who is actively participating not only in the recording of traditions, but also in how it is presented in published form.  These kinds of letters give a window into the work and contributions of an important early scholar and missionary whose name, however, is far less well known that Gill’s, for it is the latter’s name that appears on the title pages of the ethnographic studies these two men collaborated in producing.

All this work takes place in the small intervals of relative calm permitted to me when I am not busy either teaching or discharging the responsibilities of Acting Dean of Te Tumu, a role bequeathed to me by Poia Rewi on his departure for Te Mātāwai in Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

 

Erica Newman’s exciting new project

Dr Erica Newman

Erica is lead investigator in a new fast-start Marsden project beginning in 2021: Journey Home: Descendants of Maori adoptees search for their turangawaewae.  Only researchers who have recently completed their PhDs are eligible to apply for a Fast Start Marsden grants.

 This research will investigate the ripple effects of the 1955 Adoption Act from which some Māori adoptees grow up not knowing their whakapapa, and look at the journeys that some of their descendants undertake in the search for their tūrangawaewae.  Erica’s project has already attracted quite a bit of media attention, on te aka kumara, and waatea news, which is useful for getting the project out there to the descendants who may want to make contact with Erica.  There is also a closed Facebook page just started, “Descendants of Māori Adoptees”, a safe space for these descendants to ask questions, share stories and support each other.

Erica was also asked to come on the team of the Marsden-funded project, Te Hau Kāinga: Histories and Legacies of the Māori Home Front, 1939-45, to contribute research on tikanga, whānau and adoption

Erica teaches in some large classes, and says that she found challenging converting on-campus papers to on-line. “This year has been quite draining with covid, and the future is a little unsettling when thinking about teaching, not knowing whether we will (or won’t) go into more lockdowns next semester.”  But she is keenly looking forward to getting into her research.

 

Dr Paerau Warbrick’s goings on

Dr Paerau Warbrick

In terms of research this year, I have been beavering away at articles.

Recently I have had an article accepted by the Australia & New Zealand Law & History journal, which will be published later in 2021. It is on Māori and Citizenship. And it takes a look at what this phrase ‘citizenship’ meant for Māori up until the 1950s.  

 My research is taking on a distinctly historical political flavour, on the heels of my 2019 article in the New Zealand Journal of History about Māori elections in the nineteenth century.

I have finished a chapter for a book edited by Lachy Paterson, myself and Megan Pōtiki on Māori texts, contexts, and their resonances for today. This chapter looked at Hēnare Tomoana, MP for Eastern Māori 1879-1884, and his pivotal role in the fall of George Grey’s Government in 1879.

Recently I submitted an article to the Journal of New Zealand Studies. It looks at the two Māori Election Petitions that try to unseat the MPs Karaitiana Takamoana (Eastern Māori) in 1876 and Hone Mohi Tāwhai (Northern Māori) in 1879. In order to understand these petitions, you really have to come to grips with the complex wider political machinations of the Fox, Vogel and Donald McLean political blocs, and the George Grey and John Hall group of MPs in Parliament.

Currently, I am working on an article for the Journal of Polynesian Society on the monumental election battles between Wi Pere and James Carroll over the Eastern Māori seat between 1884-1890. It is an attempt at historical psephology where I use fragmented polling booth data to uncover complexities in the Māori communities in the Eastern Māori election. I am looking at submitting this to the journal by mid-December 2020 or more realistically late January 2021.

This past year has definitely been a challenge for everyone. I wish everyone a safe and reflective Christmas and New Years. Mauri ora koutou.

 

Lachy Paterson’s doings

Professor Lachy Paterson

Lachy is lead investigator, with Angela Wanhalla (History) on the Marsden-funded project: Te Hau Kāinga: Histories and Legacies of the Māori Home Front, 1939-45, looking at what life was like for Māori in New Zealand during the Second World War, and how these experiences shaped Māori society in the years following the war.  He is currently on RSL.

This project incorporates a large team.  Alongside Angela Wanhalla and I, we have Erica Newman (as discussed above) as research associate, and five research assistants (one of whom is based in Wellington, and another in Auckland). We’ve also two excellent student researchers, Hannah Barlow and Stacey Fraser, both history post-graduates with research aligning with our project. It’s also been wonderful to be able to fund Māori summer scholarship students, with three who undertook projects last summer.  Due to the travel restrictions, we have been unable to go to several overseas conferences, so redirected some of those funds into more summer scholarships.  This summer we have six young Māori students (two partially funded through the Humanities Māori Summer Bursaries) who have just started their projects.

A key tool for our project is the Te Hau Kāinga website, which is fully bilingual.  The site features a Stories page where we are posting research as we go along.  It’s a bit eclectic, but definitely worth a read.  The stories are also circulated to Facebook pages: our own FB page @maorihiomefront, the NZ History Teachers page, and the Māori-language versions onto the Te Mana o te Reo Maori page.

I have been fortunate to see a couple of publications appear this year.  Indigenous Textual Cultures: Reading and Writing in the Age of Global Empire was recently published with Duke University Press, 2020.  This project came out of a 2014 symposium in Dunedin featuring a number of eminent international scholars, and Tony Ballanyne, Angela Wanhalla and I co-edited the collection of essays that came out of the symposium.

Sometimes things take time.  I attended a symposium on colonial newspapers at Yale University in 2017, looking at the notion of Habermas’s “public sphere” within colonial societies, presenting on Wellington Māori letters in Te Karere o Poneke in the 1850s.  This was recently published as “Te Karere o Poneke: Creating an Indigenous Discursive Space?” in “Special Issue: Colonial Public Spheres and the Worlds of Print”, Itinerario: Journal of Imperial and Global Interactions,44, 2 (2020) edited by Emma Hunter and Leslie James.

My argument is that if you used the conditions of the Habermasian model of a public sphere (a rather Eurocentric theory) it was difficult to apply to Māori of the Wellington period in the 1850s.  They were not urban, bourgeois, or anti-clerical, nor in control of the media. But the impact of colonialism nevertheless gave them new ways of looking at the world, and that this newspaper gave plenty of scope for them to articulate them.

I have also submitted a chapter, “Race and Revolution: Haiti and the Kīngitanga, 1863” for a new book, edited by Lyndall Ryan and Angela Wanhalla, on Aftermaths: Remembering Colonial Violence in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific. This should appear with Otago University Press in 2021.  I was also asked to contribute a case study for the planned Edinburgh Companion to British Colonial Periodicals, and have written (but not yet submitted) a piece entitled, “Making Māori citizens in Colonial New Zealand: the Role of Government Niupepa.”  I anticipate this coming out in 2022 with Edinburgh University Press.

Another project is to write a book on Māori print culture, from the first book in 1815 through to the present.  I have pretty much written a draft, but this needs some extra work and refinement.  And as Paerau mentioned above, he, Megan Pōtiki and I have a planned edited collection on Māori-language texts that we plan to get on to when we have a spare breath.

 

Te Tumu Research Under Lockdown

The Lockdown has proved hugely disruptive to all Te Tumu staff, impacting on all aspects of our academic lives, including research.  We now move from Lockdown to Level 3 – which so far doesn’t look too much different for us.  Despite this, we have still been managing to keep our research productivity going, hopefully with some “outputs” in the offing. 

To find out a little bit more, I sent out a request to staff to send in a few details on the highs and lows of their research during lockdown.

First, let’s talk about some of the problems.  Some staff talked of getting “zui’d out”, i.e. too many Zoom hui.  There’s been some research on how tiring Zoom meetings can be, and what with teaching online, staff and school meetings, supervision get-togethers, and other hui, it can seem like some days we are constantly on Zoom.  Then there’s the extra effort preparing for online teaching, especially in the reo classes where you need to convert the quick-flowing quick-changing interactive tasks into online teaching activities.

Then there are the events that have been cancelled or deferred, such as Poia Rewi’s  Māori language symposium that he had planned with the Government Department Collective, and Michelle Schaaf’s planned delivery of  Summary Report for ‘Childhood in a Changing Pacific’: Samoa and Dunedin to Pacific communities in Samoa and Dunedin.  Lachy Paterson had also been planning to kick off his upcoming research and Study Leave (RSL)with a couple of conferences in France, but these have both been cancelled.

Gianna’s little distraction, Rangiaho.

Then there’s working from home.  Three of our staff have young children also locked down with them, which creates its own complications. As Karyn says, she has also been “researching meal plans for a fussy eater and activities to keep a 13 month old entertained” – hard work when “food still refuses to get eaten and suggested activities don’t keep her attention for longer than 5 minutes!!” And one person complained (was it a complaint?) that “My new office space is far too close to the pantry”.

Karyn keeping Manuhou amused.

So if those were the lows, what were the highs?

Poia says he is pleased that Gianna Leoni and Tangiwai Rewi have come on board the Te Reo Me Ngā Tikanga Māori Platform for 2020 research, looking at the impacts of research by researchers under Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga. Gianna is also feeling chuffed that she has finished a research proposal she had been needing to do for a few months – and having it accepted.

Tangiwai in her research nook.

Tangiwai, as Chair of the Te Tumu Research Committee, also organised a “Hot Tips” Zoom session with staff earlier this month, on how to enhance their applications for University of Otago Research Grants (UORGs).  We were really pleased to have the ebullient Humanities Associate Dean (Research), James Maclaurin there to share his knowledge with us.

Both Lachy and Tangiwai are on RSL next semester, so have been revising their travel, and research and writing plans, which has been difficult given that no one knows how long we will be in Level 3, or when normality will return.

Lachy’s man-cave

Lachy has been organising getting the proofs and indexing for a new edited collection on Indigneous textual cultures, which will hopefully be out in September. See here for more info He been working on the Te Hau Kāinga/Māori Home Front project, including translating the blog posts.  If you haven’t read the latest ones (in English or Māori) then check them out at the project website.  You can also listen to him and Angela Wanhalla promoting the project on Radio New Zealand’s Saturday Morning programme on Anzac Day:  Lachy has also been asked to submit an abstract for a chapter on Māori newspapers in The Edinburgh Companion to British Colonial Periodicals.

Michelle has been busy transcribing interviews,  sorting participants’ diaries and personal papers collected during her recent RSL, in preparation for UORG application. She is also part of a team who have just completed the Summary Report for Childhood in a Changing Pacific: Samoa and Dunedin. She has also been chosen to write a chapter for an e-book for Bridget Williams Books on “’Thesis Survivor Stories”, to be published in June.

Michelle in her home work space.

Megan Pōtiki is busy on finishing her thesis.  She recently published “Te hū o Moho: The call of the extinct Moho: The death of the Māori language at Ōtākou” which appeared in the latest issue of Te Pouhere Kōrero.

Lyn Carter has completed a journal article during the Lockdown, which she has sent off to a Sami journal. Otherwise, she says, she has been having lots of Zoom meetings with various research clusters around climate change and health/climate change and environment, including on her National Science Challenge projects, Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities, and BioHeritage.

Building on her publishing success from last year, Telesia Kalavite, is currently writing a journal article for the New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies.  She is also one of the principal applicants for a successful grant application for Humanities Research Network with an amount of $10,000 for 2 years. The name of the project is: “Pacific Thought Network (PacTNetwork)”. Telesia is now developing an application for UORG grant to further her research.

Our newest staff member, Vaivaimalemalo Michael Ligaliga, has been very busy.  He has been developing a book proposal for Palgrave Macmillan based on his PhD thesis, as well as a UORG application.  Michael has also been working on a chapter on the Samoan perspective on addressing domestic or family violence for the Handbook of Positive Peace , and another for Decolonizing Indigenous Research Methodologies in Peace and Conflict Research.

Michael Reilly has been continuing his work, writing chapters about Māui Pōtiki, one on a Ruapuke Island narrative, and another looking at two stories by Mohi Ruatapu.  His aim is to incorporate these chapters into a book about Maori tribal traditions, perhaps with Auckland University Press, building on the kind of topics he has taught in his MAOR207 and INDV307.  Michael has also been asked to contribute a chapter on emotions in the Pacific and Australia for an edited book, The Routledge Modern History of Emotions.  

Perpetual hui on Zoom! Here Karyn and Manuhou are attending a board meeting for Te Rūnanga Māori of Ako Aotearoa.

The Lockdown has disrupted Karyn’s Marsden research, so she’s been busy working on a new plan, and catching up on some of her reading.  She has recently been published by Lancet Oncology. This came from an invitation to her and her collaborators to the International Gastric Cancer Linkage Consortium in Wānaka last year to share their research on updating the international practice guidelines for Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer. Karyn is currently working on the final draft of a book chapter she is co-writing with Marcelle Wharerau (ex-Te Tumu student, now teaching at Waikato University) on subversive pedagogies entitled, “Tūngia ki te marae, tau ana – culturally transformative learning in universities”.

Paerau Warbrick was enjoying his RSL when the Lockdown was imposed, focusing his research on historic Māori elections, and the lawsuits that often went with them.  He has just finished a draft article on the 1876 Eastern Maori election petition involving Hēnare Pōtae, Rōpata Wahawaha and Karaitaina Takamoana and the 1887 Northern Maori election petition involving Hirini Taiwhanga and Wī Kātene. Paerau is also working on an article on the monumental election battles between Wī Pere and James Carroll in the 1884, 1887 and 1890 elections, and making the finishing touches to another article regarding the UK Supreme Court and how it should take lessons from the NZ Court of Appeal Maori Council case of 1987 and the Foreshore and Seabed case of 2003.

Wherever you are, I hope you are all staying safe and keeping well, and being productive with your research (if that’s your thing).

PhD Celebration

Raphael Richter-Gravier and his primary supervisor, Michael Reilly.

When possible, Te Tumu always likes to acknowledge our students’ completions of their PhDs with a morning or afternoon tea. Today was our opportunity to celebrate Raphael Richter-Gravier, who graduated last December. Given that his thesis investigated Polynesian bird narratives, it was fitting that Te Tumu gifted Raphael with a 2-dimensional metallic sculpture of a kārearea (NZ falcon).  His supervisor, Professor Michael Reilly, spoke about what a wonderful doctoral student Raphael was, one whose writing was stimulating and thoughtful, and didn’t need too much revising. Raphael also noted that his friend, Manu Berry has created a number of woodcuts inspired by the bird narratives, which are currently on exhibition at PC Gallery in Port Chalmers.  Raphael has been with Te Tumu for a number of years, as a student and tutor in Māori Studies.  He seems to have a lot of activities on his plate at present (including teaching French), and we wish him well for the future.

Neigbourly success, on a Pacific theme.

John Shaver of Religious Studies (centre, back) with friends in Fiji.

Earlier this year, due to move logistics within the Humanities Division, some Te Tumu staff had to shift rooms.  This led to our Pacific Island Studies team sharing the fourth floor with academics from the Religious Studies programme.  Te Tumu would like to congratulate one of our new neighbours, Dr John Shaver, for winning a Marsden Grant to undertake further research on religious practice in Fiji.

Click here to find out more about his project, “Investigating the impact of religion on cooperation and inequality in Fiji”.  We look forward to finding out more as his project progresses.

Manu narratives of Polynesia

Raphael submitting his thesis in April.

Te Tumu would like to congratulate Raphael Richter-Gravier, one of our stellar postgraduate students, for having completed all the post-examination formalities for his PhD on “Manu narratives of Polynesia: a comparative study of birds in 300 traditional Polynesian stories“.

Raphael was supervised by Professor Michael Reilly and Dr Michelle Schaaf from Te Tumu, and through a co-tutelle arrangement, also by Professor Bruno Saura from the University of French Polynesia.  Raphael’s research is comprehensive and in-depth, looking at a wide range of bird stories on a number of themes from all around Polynesia, including Aotearoa.

If you are interested in  delving into some of the stories, or reading Raphael’s thesis in its entirity, it is now available online on the university’s OUR Archive.   Click here to access it.

Raphael will be graduating in December, and is planning to publish from his research.

More graduation success for Te Tumu

Being able to highlight student success always brings great pleasure to Te Tumu.  This May we have ten students completing their degrees in May.  Thomas Aerepo-Morgan (Ngāi Tahu, Waikato, Ngāti Whakaue, Kuki Airani), Maramena Tuna (Tūhoe) and Kaahu White (Ngāi Tahu, Te Rarawa) graduate with a BA in Māori Studies.  Thomas is currently pursuing a Master of Indigenous Studies degree, and Maramena is teaching our MAOR108 (Waiata) paper.  Liam Gillan-Taylor (Pākehā), Brogan Handcock (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungunu, Pākehā),  Jade McCaughan (Pākehā), Tiana Matthews (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Porou, Pākehā) and Isabel Moore (Ngāti Porou, Pākehā) all graduate with a BA in Indigneous Development/He Kura Matanui.  Two students (below) are graduating with PhDs.  We wish all our graduates future success wherever their skills and knowledge take them.

Emma Dunlop-Bennett (Ngāti Maniapoto, Samoan, Pākehā) undertook her doctorate, “Through their eyes: a Samoan perspective on child wellbeing”, while based principally in Wellington.  Emma’s supervisors have included Assoc Professor Jenny Bryant-Tokalau, Dr Michelle Schaaf, Assoc Professor Bev Lawton and Professor Tony Dowell.

Her abstract reads: Child wellbeing is the subject of a considerable body of research and policy making globally, and in New Zealand today. Despite its extensive use, the concept of child wellbeing is used differently across disciplines and across diverse social and cultural contexts. Little of the extant literature recognises the influence of ‘other’ worldviews, cultural beliefs, values, and ways of knowing. Further, the voices of children are largely missing in the child wellbeing debates, despite the fact that children are able to offer authoritative knowledge of their world and of their experiences. A review of the literature on Pasifika, children and childhoods, and wellbeing, highlights that there is currently no literature in New Zealand that connects these three areas together. This is the gap where this research contributes new knowledge to understanding – from the standpoint of Samoan children and their parents living in Wellington – how they conceptualise child wellbeing. The Samoan diaspora is the focus of this research given the diversity that exists within Pasifika.

Guided by the Talanoa ile i’a (Faleolo, 2009), this exploratory research positions children as ‘experts’ on their wellbeing and creates the space for them to share their knowledge. The Samoan children do so through combining Samoan (talanoaga) and Western (photovoice) research methods. The Samoan children took 10 photos of what made them feel ‘happy, safe, and loved’, which they used to guide their talanoa. The views of their parents were elicited through talanoaga.

From the talanoaga, the Samoan children defined their wellbeing as “a bunch of stuff that has good bits and bad bits”. This definition picks up the relational aspect of wellbeing as well as resilience. Four factors are important to their wellbeing, which are: social connections, not having to worry, feeling valued and included, and being a good person. Connecting with people, particularly their family, stands out as being of overwhelming importance to their wellbeing. The Samoan children bring these ideas together conceptually as a seesaw in a playground. Parents conceptualise the wellbeing of their children as ola manaia or the beautiful life. They see their main role as laying the foundations on which their children could have a beautiful life. For many parents, they are drawing on the fa’asamoa and the way in which they have been raised, but ‘tweaking’ this to account for shifts in the broader context. Of note, parents view wellbeing in terms of their children being happy and emotionally stable, being good people, having values, and that they do something meaningful with their lives that they were passionate about. The talanoa from the parents are woven together as the Ola Manaia model that captures the importance of resilience and the relational aspect of wellbeing.

This research has significance in terms of adding to the community, national and global body of knowledge on child wellbeing. This is the first New Zealand study of the wellbeing of Samoan children that gives priority to the voices of children. In doing so, it adds the child’s voice as well as the ‘other’ to the child wellbeing literature, and does this in a holistic way that takes account of the multi-dimensional aspect of child wellbeing. Further, this research reinforces that, when given the opportunity, children are able to make an incredible contribution to issues that affect them.

Paratene (Hirini) Tane‘s thesis topic discusses “Whakapapakainga: a template for the cross-generational development of marae-communities.” Hirini’s supervisors include Professors Paul Tapsell, Merata Kawharu and Poia Rewi.

His abstract explains: Through case study research located in Northland, New Zealand, this thesis investigates the future of papakāinga (kin-community settlements) and their marae (ancestral centres of tribal identity). Māori kin-communities have transformed in response to crisis and opportunity over generations. Due to historical impacts of Māori land alienation, individualisation, and Māori urbanisation, the binding fabric of papakāinga – kinship and economy – has weakened.

‘Whakapapakāinga: a template for the cross-generational development of marae-communities’ investigates the concerns and hopes of the descendants of Oromahoe regarding the future of their papakāinga. It uses interviews with elders, a Māori land trust; a questionnaire with community descendants (local and non-local), archival research, and reflexive ethnography. The key finding of this research investigation is that papakāinga development should innovate within central needs – energy, housing and food – that restore economy around papakāinga and reactivate functional kinship links between community members.

This thesis is a study in the field of the target audience. The findings are to assist the Oromahoe Trust, the Oromahoe marae and its descendants (local and non-local) in shaping a strategic direction for their ancestral settlement, their papakāinga. The findings also provide an kin-insider approach to papakāinga development for housing development agencies, district and regional councils, funding agencies, banks, architecture firms, solar technology suppliers and Māori and non-Māori agricultural and horticultural enterprises that neighbour papakāinga. It is important not only to New Zealand’s 778 papakāinga, but also small indigenous communities elsewhere in the world facing similar crises of relevance to descendant diasporas, identity and development.

New Te Tumu Staff

Te Tumu is fortunate to have two new staff teaching at Te Tumu this year.

Vaivaimalemalo Dr Michael Fusi Ligaliga

Dr Michael Ligaliga was raised in Upolu, Samoa, and attended school in both Samoa and Auckland.  He them moved to Hawai’i to pursue undergraduate study at Brigham Young University in Hawai’i, graduating in Political Science and International Peace Building.  He first came to Dunedin in 2011, undertaking a PGDipArts at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, followed by an MA.

Michael then moved back to Hawai’i where he taught at BYU-H, and was for a time the acting Director of the David O. McKay Center for Intercultural Understanding.  He then returned to Otago in 2015 to enrol in his PhD at the NCPCS, with Dr Heather Devere as his primary supervisor.  Not only is Michael the first Pacific Islands doctoral student to graduate from the Centre, but his thesis was deemed to be ‘exceptional’ (i.e. when all the examiners of a candidate’s thesis agree that the thesis is among the top 10% of theses examined.)

Michael’s research focuses on domestic and family violence through a Peace and Conflict Studies lens, and the application of Peace and Conflict theories to aspects of Pacific societies.  In particular he played with Galtung’s Typology of Violence to highlight the “invisible” nature of societal violence.  Michael will continue to pursue and publish this research while he is here in Te Tumu.

This year the university is trialing a new co-taught paper at summer school (PACR101) designed to help integrate new Pasifika students into the university lifestyle and community.  Michael arrived in January, and was straight into the classroom teaching these students.  This year he will be giving some guest lectures in PACI101 “Pacific Societies” and PACI201″Contemporary Pacific Islands Issues”, and in Semester Two he will teaching PACI410 “Pacific Leadership” and PACI310, a special topic based on his doctoral research.

Michael is pleased to be back “home” in Dunedin, as are his wife Faalima and their daughter and son, Joanie and Leahcim.

 

Dr Gianna Leoni

Dr Gianna Leoni (Ngati Kuri and Ngai Takoto) is well-known to almost anyone associated with Te Tumu.  She is a former Tumuaki (President) of Te Roopu Māori (in 2013), and undertook her BA(Hons) at Te Tumu, as well as her MA and PhD.  Her PhD, written in te reo Māori, looked at the use of te reo in government departments.  She has also been a tutor and senior tutor, research assistant, teaching fellow, and a co-editor of Te Kōparapara, Te Tumu’s MAOR102 textbook.

Her last position was as a postdoctoral fellow, funded by Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (Whai Rawa theme), investigating the expression of economic aspirations in te reo Māori in the past, present and future.

Gianna has been appointed as a lecturer, and this year will be teaching MAOR311, one of our 300-level Māori language papers, and INGS501, the core theory and methods paper for the Master of Indigenous Studies programme.  She will also co-ordinate and teach into MAOR206/306 (He Pūkenga Tuhi), a Māori writing skills paper.

Gianna will continue her research from her postdoctoral programme, but is also interested in issues of Māori identity.  She sees a multiplicity of identities, and wishes to break down stereotypes of what “Māori” is meant to mean.  She believes it is important for her research to be relevant and contribute to the communities she is involved with, the local Dunedin Māori community and her hau kāinga in Muriwhenua.

In her spare time, Gianna is president of the South Pacific Rugby League and Sports Club.  The club, with a mainly Māori and Pasifika membership, now boasts 15 teams playing rugby league, basketball, softball and netball.