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Have you heard of Hinehau? A research journey of reclamation

As the Māori political and cultural movement continues to grow, issues of representation, power, and control are critiqued by Māori minds. After discovering a tribal myth about the mana of a woman known as Hinehau, a chain reaction of enquiry develops into the reclamation of tribal knowledge. By investigating the historical context surrounding the narrative of Hinehau, her story transcends the fairy-tale myth she was confined to, and exposes the rendering down of her story. Under the umbrella of Western science, European and Pākehā historical archives created an enduring legacy of “Māori myth” that is synonymous with falsehood. Through the assertation of tribal oral tradition and connecting our experiences to our missing histories, Hinehau is relocated. The Hinehau story renews through reconnecting to mātauranga Māori, Ngāpuhi kōrero tuku iho and the creativity of the researcher. In this process, her story renews. With the guidance of hapū members, mentors, and a diversity of literature, the narrative of Hinehau becomes a part of a much larger inter-tribal narrative held within an ancestral landscape which is sometimes hard to recognise in whenua we no longer have tribal autonomy over. Our Indigenous identity is still under threat as we are still “othered” in our tribal lands. This work contributes to pushing the envelope of what it means to think, exist, and challenge as tangata whenua in Aotearoa, where traditional tribal roles have been minimalised in society, or disappeared through generations of the colonial project (Tuhiwai Smith, 2012).
Type of thesis
The University of Waikato
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