Tangi and State Funeral: Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu and Prime Minister Norman Kirk
McRae, K. O. (2010). Tangi and State Funeral: Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu and Prime Minister Norman Kirk (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/4995
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/4995
The tangi of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu (Te Arikinui) in 2006 paralleled the State funerals for New Zealand Prime Ministers like Norman Kirk who died in 1974. State funerals require the huge mobilization of people and resources and always attract the attention of the national and international media. The death of a Prime Minister is news worthy, but what of a minority indigenous fourth world leader like Te Arikinui? Why did her passing attract so much media attention? In this study I argue that media representation of the tangi of Te Arikinui was largely about social, cultural and symbolic capital. In media saturated societies such as Aotearoa/New Zealand, through mainstream media outlets like TV One News and the Waikato Times, Te Arikinui’s tangi event claimed a dominant space in the lives of Maori and non Maori alike. The data source includes print news media coverage of the tangi of Te Arikinui and the State funeral of Norman Kirk. Descriptive narrative and abductive analysis inform the methodology used in this study. As expected, print media reporting of both events progressed through the three stages identified by Durkheim, those of, separation, liminality and reincorporation. The ownership of death, the deceased and the continued possession of their mortal remains, itself a cultural object with symbolic and cultural capital, reflected the actual power and control of the possessor. State funerals and tangi are about the ritualized performance of grief and mourning, and require the appropriate social, cultural and symbolic capital for its enactment.
University of Waikato
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