Ko wai tō ingoa? The transformative potential of Māori names
Seed-Pihama, J. E. (2017). Ko wai tō ingoa? The transformative potential of Māori names (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/11310
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/11310
Ingoa tangata (personal names) are an expression of te reo Māori, Māori identity, and tino rangatiratanga (self-determination). Nevertheless, our names are still mispronounced, marginalised and demeaned by individuals and institutions, such as schools, the health system, politics and media. This thesis argues that the gift of a Māori name and the assertion of that name over one’s lifetime is simultaneously a political act of resistance and an act of normalisation – an act of just being Māori. In particular, the thesis reveals how whānau naming practices endure and are important for whānau identity and belonging. A Kaupapa Māori theoretical approach is used to highlight the mana of our ingoa tangata within te ao Māori (the Māori world). I analyse the experiences of six generations of one whānau and the ways in which they have resisted, reclaimed and regenerated our ingoa tangata and associated practices. Kaupapa Māori theory provides a much-needed theoretical framework that privileges te reo Māori and mātauranga Māori throughout this research. This theory also supports Māori researchers to critique and disrupt Western power dynamics within research as well as maintaining the political imperative of decolonisation and resurgence agendas within the research of Indigenous communities. This thesis foregrounds Pūrākau as a research method to tell the kōrero ingoa (naming stories) of six generations of one whānau, totalling twenty-six different stories. I explore the possibilities of pūrākau as a method and ako (to teach/ learn) as a powerful component in the building and sharing of stories, as writing tools for the (re)presentation of that material and in expressing the researcher’s positionality. Pūrākau as method also enables the utilisation of our cosmogonies as important sources of mātauranga Māori and therefore as crucial to an analysis of our naming motivations and notions of belonging. Furthermore, I critically analyse the disruptions and interruptions to ingoa tangata caused by institutions of colonialism such as religion, law and education. This research argues for the transformative potential of our ingoa tangata and their associated kōrero ingoa in terms of enhancing identity, embedding whakapapa kōrero and keeping Māori values alive within whānau, and beyond.
University of Waikato
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