The Māori female - her body, spirituality, sacredness and mana : a space within spaces
August, W. (2004). The Māori female - her body, spirituality, sacredness and mana : a space within spaces (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/10260
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/10260
This thesis is an exploration of bodily rituals, practices and cultural spaces of the female Māori body. Critical social theories and Kaupapa Māori research paradigms are combined to disrupt and challenge hegemonic Western knowledges. Qualitative methods - interviews, focus groups and autobiographical experience - are used to understand bodily practices that pertain to being Māori and female. There are three points to my discussion. I argue first, that the embodied relationship between Māori women and urupā and food gathering spaces rests on notions of Papatūānuku and female reproduction. During menstruation or pregnancy most women are restricted from urupā. Many participants, however, view this tikanga positively and describe it as making them feel special. Second, I examine the ways in which Māori female bodies are colonised and positioned between Western patriarchal and traditional ways of being. Due to various reasons surrounding colonisation, there are gaps in younger generations' Māori knowledge and this has led to tensions about which space to occupy. Finally, I discuss mana and conclude by asserting that the Māori female body has not lost individual mana, despite the efforts of colonisation to take mana away from Māori women. Throughout this research I offer cultural perspectives in order to prompt new ways of thinking about the Māori female body. The views expressed in this thesis are not the views of all Māori. Practices, tikanga and knowledges vary between different iwi, hapū and rohe.
University of Waikato
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- Masters Degree Theses