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Te mana o ngā toa: Māori experiences of Ngāti Tūmatauenga, the New Zealand Army

Diverse realities impact Māori people and their capacity to flourish. It is well- established that Māori are significant contributors to the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), and especially the New Zealand Army. Noteworthy participation in major conflicts, especially WWI and WWII create a whakapapa of military tradition which contributed to institutional change within the Army in the 1990s. The inclusion of Māori cultural training in the New Zealand Army can contribute to morale and the effectiveness of the organisation (Hohaia, 2016). This master’s thesis aims to deepen understandings of the experiences of Māori personnel in the Army by exploring the role of the New Zealand Army in the health and wellbeing of Māori soldiers, as well as how the Army can be a career pathway for Māori and their whānau to flourish. This research employs the use qualitative methods such as Kaupapa Māori theory, phenomenology, and pūrākau as a form of narrative analysis. Semi-structured interviews with five participants (three retired personnel and two currently serving) explores these factors that contribute to the flourishing of Māori soldiers in the New Zealand Army. Each pūrākau developed from interview data is an acknowledgment of the personal journeys of the five participants and contains philosophical thought, epistemological constructs, cultural codes, and worldviews (Lee, 2009). The findings of the research highlight the complexities that arise when considering the health and wellbeing of Māori soldiers. A range of interconnected factors conceptualised within five themes contributes to participants’ ability to flourish. These five themes include hauora (health), whanaungatanga (relationships), manaakitanga (support), whanonga pono (values) and whakapāwera (hardships). These results suggest that flourishing for Māori personnel is complex, and there is not a simple route to enable Māori to flourish. There are many ‘trade-offs’ for Māori and their experiences. However, Māori service provides opportunities and obstacles for an individual, as well as their whānau, hapū and iwi.
Type of thesis
The University of Waikato
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