Thumbnail Image

Māori social identities in New Zealand and Hawai'i

This research is comprised of two narrative interview studies of Māori in two different settings, New Zealand (n=20) and Hawai'i (n=30). The data was gathered over the 1994-1996 period. The two settings have some commonalities and differences. In both settings Māori are required to make decisions about the continuity of their ethnic Māori identities and hereditary cultural identities of iwi, hapu and whanau, and the part that they wish these identities to play in their daily lives. The focus of this research was about how Māori create meaning in their lives and maintain their social identities across and within those contexts they move through. The findings of this research suggest that Māori in New Zealand continue to value and gain meaning and satisfaction from their cultural collectivities and the social identities derived from them. However, the results tend to suggest that there are changes in the ways that individuals conceptualise these identities and concomitantly, how they see of themselves. For New Zealand participants, conceptions of hapu and iwi appear to be converging with an increasing focus on the physicality of marae, its environment and symbolism, and the social events and relationships negotiated in that space. New Zealand participants saw some hapu and iwi maintenance activities as more legitimate than others. More value was placed on returning to hapu and iwi homelands however irregular these returns were. In contrast, conceptions of hapu and iwi held by participants in Hawai'i seemed less intense. There were few opportunities to engage with other hapu or iwi members. Being Māori had greater meaning and was understood, probed and valued by others in the culturally plural context of Hawai'i. For New Zealand participants, being Māori was enacted in the context of being a discriminated, negatively constructed minority. All were aware of the defining effect that the presence of a dominant majority could have and countered these effects by engaging in social justice and in-group solidarity activities. The changing identity conceptions held by members of Māori social groups will have implications for a sense of community and social cohesion, for tribal asset management, service delivery and crown settlement processes. If Māori are redefining and renegotiating their social identities to achieve greater meaning and satisfaction then these changes are important to respond to and recognise.
Type of thesis
Nikora, L. W. (2007). Māori social identities in New Zealand and Hawai’i (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2574
The University of Waikato
All items in Research Commons are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.