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Māori women’s perspectives of leadership and wellbeing

This research sought to understand how Māori women leaders maintain their wellbeing within their leadership roles. Semi-structured interviews acknowledging kaupapa Māori theory (Māori philosophy, framework) principles were used to gather the leadership journeys of five Māori women leaders from academic and business backgrounds across the North Island, New Zealand. Kaupapa Māori principles such as kānohi kitea (greeting, meeting face to face), ako Māori (learning, teaching, reciprocity, cultural pedagogy) and manāki ki te tangata (caring, hosting people) provided a methodological framework to follow during interviews with Māori women leaders. From the interviews, thematic analysis was undertaken and patterns, similarities and differences were uncovered that led to the identification of eight main themes: Humility, collective work, the influence of others, overcoming boundaries, balance between te taha hinengaro (mental or psychological wellbeing) and te taha tinana (physical wellbeing), fostering pathways, quieting the mind, and whānau (family) connections. Secondary analysis further developed and explored the themes using indigenous whakataukī Māori (Māori proverbs), which became the overarching theme and connected the eight themes to the five whakataukī. The study found that balance between te taha hinengaro (the psychological, mental wellbeing dimension) and te taha tinana (the physical dimension) from Te Whare Tapa Whā (the four corners of a house) and Te Wheke (the octopus) Māori wellbeing models supported Māori women leaders’ waiora (health, wellbeing). Central to the success of these Māori women leaders was being connected to whānau and friends, and being influenced by tāmariki (children), tauira (students) and employees. These social connections made Māori women leaders strong and resilient to change and challenges. Māori leadership practices and values such as hūmarie (humility), mana wahine (Māori women’s leadership style), manākitanga (caring) and aroha (compassion, love) contributed to leadership drivers that enhanced Māori women within their leadership roles. Finally, recommendations include enhancing practices such as those that encourage mana (influence, power, and identity), mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) and ako Māori for future generations to follow.
Type of thesis
Ruru, S. M. (2016). Māori women’s perspectives of leadership and wellbeing (Thesis, Master of Applied Psychology (MAppPsy)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10635
University of Waikato
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