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Echoed silencing in Te Whare/Tangata

Wāhine Māori voices are suppressed due to multiple intersecting factors in Aotearoa which negatively impact our lived realities. The aim of this thesis is to foreground wāhine voice and identity within a settler colonial housing system. The current ‘housing crisis’ has been an issue of interest in academia focusing on housing insecurity, homelessness and neoliberalism. Additionally, the criminalisation of Māori has been explored by scholars to a similar extent, especially the pipelining of Māori into incarceration and precarity through policing and surveillance strategies. However, how the criminal justice system and the housing systems interact is scarcely investigated in Aotearoa, and moreover, has not been examined through a Mana wāhine theoretical framework. Mana Wāhine scholars have long critiqued colonisation and the accompanying practices, ideologies and discourses of difference that misrepresent wāhine as the ‘savage other’. How wāhine Māori are constructed through political discourse and factors leading to the silencing of wāhine are at the forefront of this inquiry and moreover, wāhine resistance, survival and aspirations while navigating a discriminatory housing system is examined. Political and Western discourse contributes to the criminalisation and deficit framing of wāhine as the ‘undeserving poor’ and ‘criminal other’ which subsequently silences wāhine and encourages discriminatory practices. This thesis contends that the channelling of wāhine Māori into a precarious population, the criminalisation of wāhine Māori, and the colonial discourses surrounding wāhine interact together and create barriers to wāhine Māori access to housing. An analysis of housing discourse, alongside wāhine perspectives provides a counter-narrative of the lived reality and voice from wāhine who reside in a predominantly precarious and Māori populated area. The findings show cases of surveillance, discrimination, social policing and steering wāhine Māori into unhealthy living conditions, however, wāhine were also creative in their practices of resistance and survivance.
Type of thesis
The University of Waikato
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