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E hoki ki to maunga: The quintessential elements of home

He kopu puta tahi, he taura whiri tātou; whiringa a nuku, whiringa a rangi, te whatia e Issue of one womb, we are a rope woven of many strands; woven on earth, woven in heaven, it will not break (Rev Māori Marsden, 1992) Ngati Te Takinga is a hapū (sub-tribe) belonging to the Iwi (tribe) Ngati Pikiao. An affiliated member of the Te Arawa confederation of tribes, Ngati Pikiao occupies the Okere and Rotoiti Lakes district of Rotorua in the central North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. This thesis seeks to acknowledge and address the concerns that Ngati Te Takinga has regarding impending cultural discontinuity. The concerns arise due to the hapū's limited human capability and capacity being the result of three things. Firstly, the ongoing demise of tribal elders (and leaders) and the subsequent loss to the hapū of cultural knowledge, skills, leadership and expertise. Secondly, the low numbers of adept, culturally proficient successors 'coming through' (to replace the elders) and finally, the detribalised and diasporic (dispersed) nature of our people. The hapū and the marae Te Takinga (a last outwardly discernible bastion of Ngati Te Takinga cultural identity and distinction) are jeopardised as a result of these phenomenon. This thesis is part of a hapū strategy that attempts to address these problems. Positing the reconnection of our dispersed Ngati Te Takinga 'away-dwellers' as a beginning solution, the central questions raised by this thesis are how [does] Ngati Te Takinga 'home-dweller' discourse impact on the 'coming home' experiences and 'reconnection' of Ngati Te Takinga away-dwellers? and what are the [are there] implications for Ngati Te Takinga cultural continuity? The maintenance of Ngati Te Takinga cultural continuity forms the aho mātua or main thread of this work. Using narrative enquiry as a broad methodological framework,stories were gathered from four different groups of Ngati Te Takinga peoples. The groups were home-dwellers (mana whenua or ahi kaa), te ahi tere (away-dwellers who have returned home to live); te ahi tere (away-dwellers who intend returning in the future) and te ahi tere (away-dwellers who have no intention of returning home to live). The stories (narratives) investigated notions of home, belongingness and Māori identity in relation to the trichotomy of the connection, disconnection and the reconnection of Ngati Te Takinga peoples; the stories were analysed and co-constructed with participants for meaning. The stories showed that while the hapū aspires to gather up the strengths of a dispersed people to reinvigorate our culture and the marae, existing and competing discourses around authenticity, authority and Ngati Te Takinga identity create a tension between the home (mana whenua/ahi kaa) and away-dwelling Ngati Te Takinga people; including those away-dwellers who have returned. As a basic requirement, this tension must be diminished in order to build the relationships necessary to improve hapū allegiance (whānaungatanga), to build hapū strength and to maintain hapū culture and identity. As a priority, decolonising strategies that facilitate an understanding of diversity, promote participation, maintain tikanga and include our away-dwellers, our 'returnees' and/or our disconnected people in our hapū-marae interactions, must be considered, developed, promoted and practiced.
Type of thesis
Emery, D. J. T. (2008). E hoki ki to maunga: The quintessential elements of home (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2552
The University of Waikato
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