Tūtereinga o Pirirākau: He piringa rākau, he piringa whakairo, he piringa whare, he piringa mana Māori motuhake Reclaiming identity and mana Māori motuhake

Since the early 19th century, colonisation has deeply harmed Pirirākau, a hapū of Ngāti Ranginui in Tauranga moana, severely and consistently undermining our vitality, livelihood, ambitions, and aspirations. Colonisation through the lens of land alienation, economic impoverishment, mass settler immigration, warfare, cultural marginalisation and assimilation, and multi-level hegemonic racism has had profound negative impacts on the identity, connectedness, sense of belonging, and mana Māori motuhake for Pirirākau. As a counter-colonial strategy, this thesis explores the role that the Tūtereinga whare whakairo has contributed towards the reclamation of the identity and mana Māori motuhake for Pirirākau. Tūtereinga whare whakairo, a mnemonic architectural vessel fashioned with anthropomorphic figures, is pivotal in the reclamation of the identity and mana Māori motuhake for Pirirākau. Our wharenui is the focal point of our marae – Tūtereinga and remains the cornerstone of the identity of Pirirākau. The historic moments manifested in its carved patterns and structural elements are inextricably connected with and dependent upon the structure of the world fabricated by mātauranga Māori. However, due to the disastrous effects of colonisation, whakairo rākau and its associated architectural practices that are central to Māori identity and mana Māori motuhake suffered decline in many parts of Aotearoa, leading to the detrimental impacts of Māori identity and mana Māori motuhake. Our wharenui Tūtereinga is a visual representation of our identity and mana that preserves our whakapapa, history, and inter-generational narratives unique to Pirirākau in the form of whakairo rākau, tukutuku, and kōwhaiwhai, enabling the transmission of knowledge for generations through traditional narratives and customary protocols and practices.
Type of thesis
The University of Waikato
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