Thumbnail Image

Poipoia te tamaiti ki te ūkaipō

This thesis explores traditional philosophies of Māori motherhood. Drawing from traditional accounts of our cosmologies, from mōteatea, whakatauki and pakiwaitara, it seeks to uncover aspects of our maternities that for many Māori mothers today have become buried under the plethora of Western maternal knowledges. Māori maternities represent a conflicted space for Māori women and whānau in contemporary Aotearoa/New Zealand. Colonisation has acted to significantly corrupt a traditionally empowering and healthy philosophy of Māori motherhood. Successive legislative and social interventions have, over many generations, served to undermine the powerful position of the maternal in Māori society, to denigrate the sanctity of the Māori maternal body and to destroy a collective and supportive approach to raising children. This thesis draws on Māori and indigenous legal theories, on mana wahine theories and on kaupapa Māori theories in its analysis. It unpacks some of the specific legislative and policy initiatives introduced by the state that have served to undermine traditional Māori maternities. In the face of a comprehensive and targeted colonisation process, Māori maternities have survived and continue to be a site of resistance and empowerment for Māori whānau. Despite the best attempts of the state to undermine Māori maternities, Māori whānau have continued to mother in ways that reflect our traditional philosophies of mothering. Finally, this thesis also proposes a theory of Māori motherhood that is grounded in our traditions, philosophies and ideologies. It concludes that Māori maternities are a significant space of resistance and tino rangatiratanga for Māori today.
Type of thesis
Gabel, K. (2013). Poipoia te tamaiti ki te ūkaipō (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/7986
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.