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Maori identity within whanau: A review of literature.

The study of identities is an enormous and complex undertaking. Research on identity formation has revealed a clear link between family practices and identity development. In traditional Maori times, the whanau was the place where initial teaching and socialisation of things Maori took place. While there is no single exact measure of what constitutes Maori identity (Durie, 1994), that Maori identity is still being asserted today means that the shaping of Maori identity is still occurring. Rather than attempt to cover all aspects of how Maori shape their identities, I have chosen to focus on the shaping of Maori identity within whanau. Given that this paper is about both Maori identity and whanau identity it seemed logical to review and examine the literature surrounding these two notions. In this paper I also discuss the ecological threats and supports that influenced Maori and whanau identity. Then I review literature on whanau identity from traditional and contemporary works, and explore the concept of whanau identity as a management framework. The literature on whanau does not vary from what Maori authors have expressed regarding their conceptualisations of Maori identity. The tribal structures, descent and cultural practices provide integral pathways through which whanau and Maori identity can be developed and maintained. What is of significance, is that the formation of a secure whanau identity is likely to contribute toward an overall stable Maori identity. Creating an environment where a sense of secure wellbeing among members of a whanau is nurtured, leads to members constructing a whanau and Maori identity that is meaningful to them in their lives.
Working Paper
Type of thesis
Moeke-Pickering, T. (1996). Maori identity within whanau: A review of literature. Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato.