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Tangihanga: Through the eyes of young Maori women

Tangihanga describes the Māori customary way of approaching death. The aim of this research is to explore the tangihanga experiences of young Māori women. The meanings they create, the learning they experience, and the social relationships they negotiate whilst at tangihanga are of interest. The contribution that tangihanga makes to mediating bereavement, grief and loss will also be investigated. This research seeks to broaden the understanding around the practices, beliefs and meanings that are associated with the processes of Tangihanga as experienced by young Māori women. This study interviewed young Māori women between the ages of eighteen to twenty four. Face to face interviews were carried out with the use of a semi-structured interview schedule. The interviews provided access to the participant‟s experiences and understanding of tangihanga and the customary practices that are associated with it. The findings from this study support the notion that the tangihanga is a fundamental event for Māori. The participants found tangi to be a place where their relationships within both their immediate and extended whānau were strengthened. This setting allowed the young women to express their grief in an open and supportive environment surrounded by their whānau. The tangi also provided a place of learning for the young women as they learned about the tikanga and kawa or customary practices in relation to tangihanga. This learning occurred in a number of ways; by observation, through participation and the receiving of instruction from older family members. Thus the tangi provided the opportunity for the transfer of cultural knowledge between generations. These findings suggest that the tangi plays an important role in young women‟s lives as it provides them with access to Māori communities and cultural learning. The challenge for us today is to ensure that these opportunities continue to occur for young Māori women.
Type of thesis
Wihongi, H. (2013). Tangihanga: Through the eyes of young Maori women (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/8506
University of Waikato
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