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huka can haka: Taonga performing tino rangatiratanga

huka can haka is an ongoing body of creative works used to frame the ideas expressed in this thesis. Spoken, ‘huka’ sounds like ‘hooker’, he is a performance persona developed to help heal from the bitter-sweet reality of being Māori, genderfluid, same-sex attracted and HIV positive in Aotearoa New Zealand. huka can haka refers to an inbetween gendered space of performance where ‘huka’ translates from Māori to English as the sea-foam that gathers between land and sea, white rain such as snow or hail, the dancing tags that are woven into cloaks, or as the transliteration of sugar. ‘Haka’ is predominantly perceived as a masculine form of traditional Māori dance and is akin to weaving with the entire body. Haka is highly sexualised and invigorates a sense of connection to Māori genealogies, family, community, language, land and cultural practices. huka can haka infers the agency enacted through the intentional performance of an identity between cultures and gender in Aotearoa New Zealand. ‘Taonga’ translates from Māori to English to represent things people value and treasure – they can be tangible or ephemeral and include shared and individual memories, people, words, actions, the things we make and beautify, as well as the natural environment that sustains us. ‘Tino rangatiratanga’ is a Māori assertion of the right to determine our lives without the disruptive controls enacted through the New Zealand government by the British Crown. Taonga performing tino rangatiratanga, infers the agency present in valuable things – because taonga exist we become aware of reasons to protect them, we create protective processes and we appreciate the value of ourselves as protectors. huka can haka: Taonga performing tino rangatiratanga explores how making art heals – it describes the transformations that manifest when creating through Māori knowledge. Raranga is the framework used to organise and explain my research. Raranga is a traditional process of Māori weaving and through its use as a methodology, I am able to connect my explorations to the relational values that are part of Māori culture. I use raranga as a framework to interpret my own practice which is unique to me – there is no separation between my practice and the ways I live my life which differs from the approaches of other weavers. Within this project I utilise a range of research approaches that are qualitative, autobiographical, subjective, creative and practice-based. Traditional Māori methods of story-telling, pūrākau, are used to communicate this research in digital image, digital video, writing and performance art. Through doing this I describe how contemporary media explorations can be interpreted as forms of raranga and haka, which can help mediate the sometimes oppressive use of text, image, moving image and performance in advancing colonial intents. The primary findings in this research are: 1. that creative practice research can help people to connect sexuality with creativity, to, re-story and re-generate narratives of empowerment; 2. that multimedia approaches to identity knowledge gathering, assists in embodying empowerment; 3. that Kaupapa Māori Theory can challenge dominant perceptions of gendered Māori bodies, and is inclusive of the ‘do it yourself’ strategies described through Transgender theory; 4. that a raranga methodology can be embodied through performance and performance artefacts, connecting research to the lived experiences of research subjects; 5. that raranga is a powerful tool to interpret sexual trauma, offering connective strategies to release damaging internalised behaviours; 6. that raranga can centre marginal identities as bodies full of hope; 7. that performance of historical trauma as ceremony can offer collective forms of healing, and; 8. that raranga heals, giving direction to multiple and conflicting strands of lived experience. The thesis makes prominent the generative and progressive nature of raranga and is chronological in design. Theoretical explorations inspire creative works, which then in turn inform avenues for deeper theorisation, leading to new creative works and so on until the thesis conclusion. Through this creative practice research project I assert raranga as a powerful process to interpret the agency that grows between makers, the materials we use and the objects we create. Ultimately, this thesis outlines a way to weave experiences of sexualised and gendered trauma, and affirm the healing present at the intersection between oppositional relationships.
Type of thesis
Nopera, T. M.-L. (2017). huka can haka: Taonga performing tino rangatiratanga (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/11721
The University of Waikato
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