Skip to Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map

Category Archives: postgraduate

Attitudes of NZ youth to Māori-language revitalization

What do young people think about the future of te reo Māori?

Nathan Albury is undertaking research on “folk linguistics”, that is, what do ordinary people think about language use.  Nathan was formerly here at Te Tumu, but is now close to completing his PhD at the University of Oslo on folk linguistics relating to the revitalization of te reo Māori in New Zealand, and the Saami language in Norway.  Te Tumu’s Dr Lyn Carter remains as one of his supervisors.

Nathan has recently written a short pamphlet with some of his findings relating to te reo Māori.  He has circulated it to government departments and political parties.  In particular he has had a good response from Education Minister Hon. Hekia Parata, and from the Green Party.  Click on the link to read Nathan’s pamphlet.Tō Tātou Reo


Te Tumu postgrads graduating this week

Te Tumu would like to congratulate four of our postgraduate students graduating this week.  Their research topics showcase the wide range of postgraduate research being undertaken in Te Tumu.

claraClara Pau (Samoan) completed a MA in Indigenous Development.  Professor Paul Tapsell was her supervisor.

Abstract:   As digital media pervades the institutions and infrastructures of contemporary society with new inventions, new applications and new devices, so too does it pervade daily lived experiences. The social networking site is one such application which is highly integrated into the daily habits of individuals worldwide. The daily lived experiences of an individual contribute, according to the theorists in support of constructivism, to an individual’s ethnic identity. It has also been suggested that the reverse is true: ethnic identity also contributes to daily life. Despite the ubiquity of Facebook and the extensive writings on ethnic identity, there has been a limited contribution by scholars on how ethnic identity is manifested in and informs Facebook use. This thesis examines the daily Facebook use of seven Samoan individuals located in New Zealand. The thesis argues that key elements of their ethnic identities are manifested in and expressed through their use of the streamlined photograph, timeline post and friending Facebook functions. The thesis explains these three themes in terms of three N’s: Nationalism, Natives (and Immigrants) and Nostalgia.


quentinQuentin Roake‘s (Pākehā) research for his MIndS (Master of Indigenous Studies) looked at “The Stabilising Influence of Tauihu and Taurapa and the translation of Māori Waka into modern forms”, with Professor Karen Nero as supervisor.

Abstract: This multi-faced archival, interview and actions research project sought to understand the practical function of tauihu and taurapa in moderating canoe motion, and their relevance to new generation waka. Knowledge of the dynamic stabilising role of the prow and stern carvings of Māori waka has dropped out of conscious use but still sits within the built and oral tradition.  This study forms a key part of Nga Waka Tangata kaupapa, a project developing contemporary forms of Māori waka in collaboration with Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr. Our approach has focused on maintaining the lineage of tikanga and of mātauranga within the construction of a new form of waka which is intended to be used as the vehicle for a range of social, cultural and economic initiatives.   The research method took the form of a cyclical dialogue that explored understanding from the oral tradition through korero with waka tohunga, in conjunction with analysis of historic hulls, images (moving and still) and text. Findings were fed back into the on-going discussion. The first iteration of a contemporary waka was developed concurrently, built and tested with findings also contributing to on-going dialogue. This process culminated in a second generation design that embodies the research findings. Theoretical perspectives of Friere, Lash and Bhamba informed our approaches to the research.  These results have made a significant contribution to the overarching kaupapa to reinitialise the fullest expression possible of traditional knowledge within contemporary waka culture. In the wider context it has aided in revaluing the significance of intellectual discovery through action, revaluing the significance of oral history, and promoting recognition of the opportunity that the breadth of this project presents to recreate the social and economic capital of Aotearoa New Zealand.


horiGeorge (Hōri) Barsdell (Ngāti Awa, Ngaiterangi; Te Whānau-a-Apanui; Ngāti Rangitihi (Te Arawa)) is graduating with Honours in Māori Studies.  His project, with Dr Jim Williams as supervisor, investigated ‘The Significance of Old Pā Sites for Modern Day Māori’.

Abstract:  This dissertation proposes to highlight the significance pā sites have for modern day Māori, with reflection on the history of pā. Although these pā sites have been abandoned and many ruined or forgotten with the changing face of the land, they still hold importance for contemporary Māori. What this dissertation aims to achieve is show the status of pā sites today, examine the historical explanations for this status, and bring forth the importance they have for Māori in the 21st Century.


tawiniTāwini White (Ngāi Tahu / Kai Tahu, Te Rarawa) also completed an Honours in Māori Studies.  Her topic, supervised by Associate Professor Poia Rewi, is entitled ‘He Manawa Reo, He Manawa Rarawa’.

Abstract: This dissertation aims to delve into whether Te Rarawa Māori Language speakers place value on the Te Rarawa dialect. I specifically wish to review and compare Te Rarawa views on the value of dialect and determine the value the dialect has in Māori language maintenance and acquisition. A comparison will be made between native Māori language speakers and second Māori language speakers to establish whether the value of dialect actually differs across these cohorts, and if so, what might these be?  The main themes of the questions include the following:

* Do native Māori language speakers and second language learners value regional dialect?

* How is Te Rarawa dialect maintained and taught, and acquired?

* Is the Māori language becoming homogenised and in doing so are Māori losing iwi and hapū identity?

Te Tumu launches “Aki”.


New I-Phone app to learn Māori vocabulary. click to enlarge

Te Tumu has launched “Aki”, a new I-Phone game for learning Māori-language vocabulary.  The game can also be played on I-Pads.


Assoc Prof Poia Rewi and Dr Katharina Ruckstuhl

This project was headed by Associate Professor Poia Rewi of Te Tumu and Dr Katharina Ruckstuhl from Research and Enterprise. The game is informed by research by Te Tumu postgraduate students Nikita Hall and Kelly-Ann Tahitahi. Technical input from Design for Technology staff and students. Te Tumu students also assisted with the voices for the app. Learners will be able to increase their vocabulary (principally items and activities related to the home) while also competing with their friends. An Android version is currently being created.


Prof. Richard Blaikie (DVC Research) and Assoc Prof Poia Rewi.

Kua whakamānutia e Te Tumu he kēmu Ī-Waea (ko “Aki te ingoa) hei ako i ngā kupu reo Māori.  E pai ana hoki te pūmanawa tautono (app) mō te Ī-papa.  Ko Associate Professor Poia Rewi (nō Te Tumu) rāua ko Dr Katharina Ruckstuhl (Research and Enterprise) ngā kaihautu. Nā ētahi ākonga paerunga, nā Nikita Hall rāua ko Kelly-Ann Tahitahi te rangahau mō te kēmu nei. I whakatutukitia te taha hanga kēmu e ngā kaiako me ngā ākonga o Te Toki a Rata (Design for Technology), ā, nō ētahi o ngā ākonga o Te Tumu ngā reo e rangona ana. Ka taea e ngā tāngata e ako ana i te reo te whakarahi tō rātou mōhio ki ngā kupu reo Māori (e pā ana ki ngā taputapu me ngā mahi o te kāinga), ā, ka whakataetae rātou ko ō rātou hoa. Kei te hangaia he tūmomo Android ināianei.

Story from the Otago Daily Times.

University Bulletin story.


Gareth Seymour (nō Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori) rātou ko Migoto Eria (nō Te Whare Taoka o Ōtākou) ko Dr Karyn Paringatai (nō Te Tumu) e purei ana i te kēmu.


Seminar: The Folk Linguistics of Māori Language Revitalisation

Nathan Albury, PhD student, will be giving a seminar in Te Tumu on 2.30-3.30pm, Tuesday 18 November in R3S10 (3rd floor, Te Tumu). Please note that this is a different day and venue to usual.

Nathan’s paper, The Folk Linguistics of Māori Language Revitalisation, “applies the folk linguistics of language policy in respect to language revitalisation as a policy project.  It reports preliminary findings from research that sought to compare what young indigenous and non-indigenous youth in contemporary New Zealand claim to know about language revitalisation as a policy process, what attitudes and beliefs these youth have towards activities and themes aimed at revitalising the Māori language, and how their knowledge and beliefs manifest into folk linguistic performance when these youth are positioned as hypothetical language policy bosses of the New Zealand government.”

For the full abstract click here, or on the “Seminars” page on the left


Te Tumu Seminar: Guardianship in Early Colonial Fiji

Orphan Girls

Image from: Burton, J.W. (1910). Fiji of To-Day. London: Charles H. Kelly

Te Tumu PhD student Erica Newman will be presenting the research presentation, Guardianship in Early Colonial Fiji, on 12 November.  Please note that the venue and time have changed to previously advertised.  It will now be 3.30-4.30 pm in R3S10 (3rd floor, Te Tumu building).

Abstract:  Fiji became a British Colony in 1874 and within five years the Indian Indentured Labour Scheme was introduced to provide workers for the European owned plantations.  Care of any orphaned children from these plantations was the responsibility of Colonial Office bureaucrats who applied the western systems of guardianship and adoption that they used throughout the Empire.This seminar will examine five examples of Colonial Office correspondence negotiating the approval of guardianship of children, between the years of 1889 to 1900. A study of these files reveals the circumstances of the child, those who were approved guardianship, and why they sought to become a guardian.  


Recent Te Tumu theses

Te Tumu had a number of its students honoured at the university’s recent Graduation, including several doing post-graduate research.

Sam Jackson

Sam Jackson

Samantha Jackson, “Ko Te Houhanga a Rongo marae tōku tūrangawaewae: In search of a philosophical standing place for indigenous development”, (MA Indigenous Development).

Supervisors: Professor Grant Gillett, Associate Professor Merata Kawharu, Dr. Paerau Warbrick

Abstract: Dominant paradigms of development assume a linear progression from one established point to another. These paradigms do not take into account the complexity of indigenous voice, spirit and ways of being-in-the-world, leaving indigenous peoples without a meaningful place to stand. To approach the question of indigenous development in such a straight forward manner is a methodological error which stands to obscure meaningful indigenous development and silence the indigenous spirit.

In order to appropriately investigate the question of indigenous development, I argue we must awaken ourselves to our assumptions which form the background of how we view and understand ourselves, the world and others. I draw on Martin Heidegger’s interrogation of Cartesian thought to provide a space through which indigenous development can be meaningfully approached from a tangata whenua (Māori, people of the land) philosophical perspective.

I utilise the traditions and teachings of Reverend Māori Marsden to posit a meaningful model of indigenous development must be rooted in Te Ao Mārama traditions (Māori worldview), a woven universe of connection between self, ancestors, universe and gods. This idea is mooted in an international indigenous context, before returning to the traditions pertaining to Te Houhanga a Rongo marae (Māori cultural complex), my own tūrangawaewae (place to stand). I argue marae are a manifestation of Te Ao Mārama worldview and therefore an appropriate site to investigate indigenous development. I utilise whakapapa (genealogy) and kōrero pūrākau (stories of origin) as important mechanisms through which one can come to understand and organise the relationship between a person, their world and their gods. Maintaining an intimate relationship within the woven universe validates a person’s tūrangawaewae giving them the ‘sureness of touch’ of a person firmly rooted in belonging with unlimited potential for human development.


Nicole McCrossin

Nicole McCrossin,Intention and Implementation: Piecing Together Provisions for Māori in the Resource Management Act 1991″, (MA, Indigenous Development)

Supervisors: Dr Janet Stephenson and Dr Jenny Bryant-Tokalau

Abstract: Today, it is widely recognised that indigenous people have a valuable contribution to make to the development and practice of resource management. New Zealand legislation recognises in part the importance of Māori participation; however, there appears to be a considerable gap between the recognition of these rights and their effective and widespread implementation at ground level. This study explores the intentions behind, and the implementation of Section 33 transfers of power and Sections 36B-E joint management agreements, under the Resource Management Act 1991, which support Māori participation in resource management decision-making. These provide for the devolution of power from local authorities to iwi authorities and the establishment of agreements to co-manage resources with iwi. A nationwide survey of local authorities’ use of the provisions demonstrated that they had been virtually unused. The majority of local authorities do not have any form of co-management agreements with Māori, and those that do have quite constrained arrangements which are designed to enhance consultation, rather than shared decision-making. The results of the survey are contrasted to findings from a series of semi-structured interviews with key informants involved in the crafting of the RMA, which examines the intentions behind the inclusion of these mechanisms in the legislation. The concept of institutional bricolage is used to help explain their creation and implementation, and the subsequent negotiation of the mechanisms and their alternatives by councils. The survey and interview results revealed that an intentional institutional bricolage approach was frequently employed by councils and iwi to negotiate co-management arrangements, but was not used in the crafting of the RMA co-management provisions. Instead, the provisions were a result of unintentional institutional bricolage, drawing on a range of structural and social influences.


Inaugural Te Tumu Postgraduate “Thesis Games”

We all know how difficult it can be to talk about our research, particularly when we have to do it succinctly.  Te Tumu’s postgrad students were put to the test today with our first inaugural “Thesis Games”, with each presenting their research within about three minutes.


Click to enlarge. From left, Tangiwai Rewi, Hori Barsdell, Lana Arun, Gianna Leoni, Marcelle Wharerau, Ane Tatu, Tyson Tautari, Suzanne Duncan, Tawini White, John Birnie, Marsa Dodson.

The topics were many and varied: Tawini White: “He Manawa Hapū” (on hapū identity in Te Rarawa); Tyson Tautari: “Dogs Tale” (on the Polynesian dog); Ane Tatu: “Are you Dongan or Tongan? An examination of the ways in which New Zealand born and raised Tongans self-define and experience anga fakatonga (the Tongan way of life) and being Tongan”; Hori Barsdell: “What is the Significance of Pā Today?”; Lana Arun: “Archaeology and Tikanga” (on how Māori knowledge fits into the archaeoly profession; Marcelle Wharerau: “You Maaris get everything” (on perceptions of Māori privilege at university); Tangiwai Rewi: “Maaku anoo e hanga tooku nei whare…” (on intergenerational knowledge transfer within Waikato); John Birnie: “What if the mountain won’t come to Mohammed? Learner-centredness for adults learning te reo Māori”; Marsa Dodson: “Mixed blessings: Oral Histories of the War Children Born to US Servicemen and Indigenous Cook Islanders”; Gianna Leoni: “Power to Policy” (on the use of te reo Māori within government departments); and Suzanne Duncan: “Where is the whanau?” (on whānau involvement within the Māori economy).

gianna-PhD winner

Professor Michael Reilly, Dean of Te Tumu, and the PhD winner, Gianna Leoni.

There was a great turnout of people, including a number of Te Tumu under-graduates.  All the speakers were amazing and engaged the audience.  Congratulations to the winners: Ane Tatu for Honours level, Marcelle Wharerau for Masters Level, and Gianna Leoni for PhD level.

Such was the success, Te Tumu is sure to hold another such event next year.  There is even talk of something similar for staff.


Special thanks to our judges, Shiobharn Smith, Māori, Pacific & Indigenous Subject Librarian, and Esme Eteuati, Pacific Islands Student Support Officer (Humanities).