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Methodology and method

In order to create a context for investigating cultural continuance within Ngati Te Takinga a dual historical and socio-cultural analysis was necessary. The first part of this process required an investigation into the lives of remaining Ngati Te Takinga elders to determine factors defining and impacting ahi kaa. The oral histories of these elders were gathered and the investigation occurred in conjunction with the collaborative

co-construction of their stories as gathered by way of tape recorded interviews. The stories will augment Ngati Te Takinga’s tribal and cultural knowledge repository for successive generations. They will stand as a point of connection and re-connection for Ngati Takinga peoples throughout the world. The second part of the historical and socio cultural analysis comprised an investigation into the movement away from ahi kaa. The oral histories of Ngati Te Takinga away-dwellers, including away- dwellers who have returned home, were gathered and studied in order to ascertain two things. Firstly, the positions that these hapū members assumed in relation to their identity as Māori, and secondly, their construction of home in connection to place, and attachment to place (Innes & Reynolds 2002; Ritivoi, 2002; Ponzetti, 2004), with specific relevance to Mourea, Ngati Te Takinga and Te Takinga marae.

The study considered the influence that colonisation, urbanisation, assimilation and hegemony had on the assumption of their positions (as Māori) and also, as Ngati Te Takinga. The stories co-constructed with these participants, explored the tensions faced by away-dwellers seeking to return home to participate in tribal life and the impact of these tensions on cultural continuance. Importantly, this study is two-fold. That is, it is a collection of narratives of experience within an ethnography of Ngati Te Takinga

undertaken by an insider of the hapū. The stories can stand on their own to inform others of the experiences of their tellers while the ethnography, undertaken at the same time through participation, allows for understanding of the context within which the stories have been developed. The impact of the context on the sense that has been made

of the stories, is reported in chapter nine the final chapter. For the purposes of this research, the investigations of participants’ lives, the recorded oral histories, the

collaborative-constructive storying process and the ethnographic study, were conducted in accord with kaupapa Māori theory and methodological practices.

This chapter outlines the methodological framework that underpins this study; it is divided into two parts. Part one presents an overview of three facets of kaupapa Māori theory, there being: the philosophical beliefs and values that underpin kaupapa Māori; a description of the relationship between kaupapa Māori and research and finally, an explanation of what kaupapa Māori Research attempts to accomplish. To conclude, details of qualitative research and the process of co-construction will be outlined.

Part two gives an account of the research engagement process including initiation, negotiation of benefits, representation, legitimation and accountability. As well, this section will explicate the interview procedures used to gather the oral histories and the method used to co-construct the narratives with the research participants. An in-depth reflexive description of the research processes will be intertwined with the accounts of the research engagement, interview and story co-construction procedures.

Part One: Kaupapa Māori

Kaupapa Māori acknowledges and validates Mātauranga Māori as being a valid and highly complex knowledge system that offers a unique way of analysing issues for Māori both historically and in contemporary times (Pihama, 2004). In validating a Māori cultural knowledge base, kaupapa Māori activates and operationalises the self

determining endeavours of Māori people (Bishop, 1991; Bishop, 1996; Smith, G. 1990, 1997; Smith, L. 1999).

Described by Tuakana Nepe (1991) as the ‘conceptualisation of Māori knowledge’

(Nepe, T.1991, p. 17), as a philosophy, kaupapa Māori is derived from a Māori

metaphysical base which influences the ways in which Māori people think, understand,

interact with and interpret the world (Bishop, 1998; Jahnke & Taiapa 1999; Nepe, 1991;

Royal, 1992; G. Smith, 1992; Walsh-Tapiata, 1998; L. Smith, 1999). Further, kaupapa Māori is underpinned by those Māori cultural values, beliefs and imperatives that remain fundamental to the institution of marae, the ‘quintessential citadel of the Māori ethos’ (N.

Raerino, pers. comm., 2006). It follows therefore, that ‘Māori language, songs, oratory rhetoric (te reo) customs and practices (tikanga) corpus knowledge and epistemology (mōhio) and inter-relationships, narratives and storytelling (whakapapa)’ (N. Raerino, pers. comm., 2006) are central to kaupapa Māori. In keeping with this definition, G.

Smith (1992) describes kaupapa Māori as being the philosophy and practice of ‘being Māori’ and taking for granted the social, political, historical, intellectual and cultural legitimacy of Māori people.

Traditionally these same cultural imperatives shaped the ways in which Māori-tribal- societal institutions of law, religion, education, economic distribution and political authority were fashioned, governed and operated. Whānau, hapū and Iwi were the nucleus of traditional Māori society and the principles of obligation, reciprocity, co-operation and group responsibility were the pivot upon which Māori communities functioned (Metge, 1964; Schwimmer, 1966; Walker, 1990; Mahuika, 1992; Ballara, 1998; A. Durie, 1997; H. Mead, 1997; M. Durie, 2001). These principles although not always overtly discernable, remain intrinsic to whānau Māori and Māori tribal

communities within a contemporary western-societal context; they continue, albeit sometimes indiscriminately, to influence our ways of being and of knowing as Māori.

As with Māori-centred ways of being and knowing, kaupapa Māori theory also exists in multiple forms. That is, there is no single or privileged truth according to kaupapa Māori theorising. The central precept of kaupapa Māori theory however, is a ‘commitment to ending systems of domination and oppression and the restoration of our dignity as human beings who call our wisdom and ways of being and knowing, Māori-centred and kaupapa Māori’ (Takino, N. 1998, p. 287). As a basis for a Māori responsive code of research ethics and conduct, kaupapa Māori is premised on the understanding that an array of Māori means of constructing, accessing, defining and protecting knowledge existed prior

to the European colonisation of Aotearoa New Zealand (Smith, G. 1990; Bishop, 1991, 1996, 1998; Irwin, 1994; Royal, 1992; Smith, L. 1999; Pihama, 2004;).

Kaupapa Māori research is the Māori academic’s ‘portal’ to the Māori world. Kaupapa Māori retrieves, restores, and revitalises the quintessential elements of the Māori ethos.

This recovery from the margins, the centering of Māori ways of being and knowing, has propelled Māori forward; reawakening Māori imaginations long stifled and diminished by colonisation and its processes (G. Smith, 2003). Kaupapa Māori as a movement of resistance, confronts, rejects and ‘frees the indigenous mind from the grip of dominant hegemony’ (Smith, G. 2003, p. 3). In its wake kaupapa Māori bequeaths spaces in which Māori ways of thinking, understanding, interacting with and interpreting the world can be upheld, often within contexts of ‘unequal power relationships with the coloniser’

(Smith, G. 2003, p. 5).

The relationship between Kaupapa Māori and Research

Kaupapa Māori challenges the prevailing ideologies of cultural superiority which pervades our social, economic, political and educational institutions (Bishop, 1996, p. 12).

In the face of ongoing colonisation, urbanisation, assimilation and hegemonic dominance, the maintenance by Māori of the values, beliefs and cultural imperatives that underpin kaupapa Māori, has involved relentless struggle. The erosion of the institutions that upheld, reinforced and promulgated a Māori-tribal-worldview saw them captured and redefined in accordance with a western (Pākehā) worldview. For example the Pākehā notion of the nuclear family has over-shadowed the Māori concept of whānau while the basis of Māori religion, although syncretic in its nature, has become that of Christianity.

The outcome of this Pākehā domination has been the replacement of an ancient,

inimitable culture with an alien philosophy; an all-pervasive foreign ethos that has given meaning to all that is regarded as good (Jackson, 1993). It follows, that all that has become to be regarded as good, is not Māori.

Attempts to reverse this situation and to recapture kaupapa Māori as a philosophical basis upon which to rethink and reshape Māori people’s lives, have gained rapid momentum.

Contemporary Māori society ‘has become increasingly focused on issues of self-sufficiency, self-determination and whānau, hapū and Iwi development’ (Jahnke, H. &

Taiapa, J. 1999, p. 40). Of crucial importance to this revitalisation process is the precept of people development as hinging upon Māori willingness and ability to decolonise and reconscientise their minds (A. Mead, 1995; G. Smith, 2003). To shrug off colonial baggage such as ‘the burden of self doubt and shame for being Māori’ (Ramsden, I. 1995, p. 120) and to re-centre kaupapa Māori ways of knowing, being and doing as a pivotal foci for Māori existence. Such a revolution, however, requires Māori to take

responsibility for transforming their own condition. Rising above the repressive reproductive forces of dominant society requires us to engage in a process of

transformative praxis (Thiong’o, 1986; A. Mead, 1995; Ramsden, 1995; Freire, 1996; G.

Smith, 1997, 2003; Said, 2003, 2006; Mulholland, 2006) requiring in-depth self reflection and a ‘shift’ in the psyche of Māori people. Only by recognising and knowing the colonial ‘baggage’ we carry, can the first step in the ‘shrugging off’ process

recommended by Ramsden (1995), and the transformation of our own ‘condition’, occur.

In addressing the contradictions of the colonised reality in which our people exist, the core findings of this research help us to a point from which transformative praxis can begin.

Foremost to the realisation of kaupapa Māori research and researcher aspirations, is the urgent need for research and research practices that value and produce works which speak with clarity, truthfulness and power about Māori worlds. A vast amount of past research ‘on’ Māori has reflected the belief that Māori were a dirty, barbaric, savage, heathen race whose end was imminent. Consequently, researchers focused their gaze on events which they believed supported this thesis, recording gruesome details of war, cannibalism, methods of killing and polygamy (Royal, 1992). Within these writings, Māori history was critiqued and scrutinised from the usually Pākehā, Christian cultural perspective of the researcher. Effectively, the actions of Māori people were, and continue to be, judged according to the information available to, and sought by, the Pākehā

researcher rather than the information available to, and disseminated by, Māori people.

The tragedy of these impositions is that the works produced have created and embedded a negative mindset about Māori across not only Pākehā New Zealanders, but within Māori themselves. According to Royal (1998) ‘works that have emerged from the pens of Pākehā writers have said more about the writers than about their Māori subjects’ (Royal, T. 1992, p. 26).

The scarcity of research pertinent to the needs and the concerns as expressed by Māori is also expressed by Jahnke and Taiapa (1999):

Much of the research done on Māori in the past has proven to be of little benefit to Māori themselves, tending to emphasise negative statistics without attempting to provide the information necessary to effect positive change. As a consequence, many Māori treat research with a degree of suspicion, questioning both the motives of researchers and the methodologies employed.

Research is, however, vital in the formulation and implementation of suitable and effective policies for Māori, and the issue of appropriate methodologies needs to be considered to ensure that the research is satisfactory both to the researchers and to the researched (Jahnke, H. & Taiapa, J. 1990, p.40).

The need to establish a kaupapa Māori based research methodology, or research methods that are more suited to, and appropriate for, investigating the lives of Māori people, has been extensively highlighted by both Māori and non Māori academics for some time now (Te Awekotuku, 1991; Irwin, 1992; G. Smith; 1992; Bishop, 1994; L. Smith, 1995;

Cunningham, 1998; Jackson, 1998; Reid, 1998; Royal, 1998). The evolution of kaupapa Māori research addresses the need to ‘understand and respond to the struggle for the academy; to reclaim the validity and legitimacy of our own language, knowledge and culture; to position Māori ways of knowing as being relevant and significant in the ‘elite’

knowledge production and reproduction ‘factories’ (Smith, G. 2003, p. 4).

Kaupapa Māori Research

The spaces within the research domain through which indigenous research can operate are small spaces on a shifting ground. Negotiating and transforming institutional practices and research frameworks is as significant as the carrying out of actual research programmes. This makes indigenous research a highly political activity and while that is understood by very experienced non-indigenous researchers and organisations it can also be perceived as a threatening activity (Smith, L., 1999, p. 140).

The theoretical framework that underpins kaupapa Māori research is derived from the Māori metaphysical base that influences the ways in which Māori people think,

understand, interact with and interpret the world (Nepe, 1991). It follows therefore, that this method of researching must be premised upon, and operate within, a Māori context.

kaupapa Māori research is that which occurs ‘in a cultural environment that is spiritually and tribally based, where emphasis is placed on people, whānau and hapū, and where principles such as generosity, reciprocity and co-operation abound’ (Jahnke, H. & Taiapa, J. 1999, p. 43).

Irwin (1994) expands Jahnke & Taiapa’s (1999) description characterising Kaupapa Māori research as research which seeks and involves the mentorship of elders, is culturally ‘safe’, relevant and appropriate while satisfying the rigour of research. Irwin (1994) suggests further, that navigation of the Māori contextualised research realm is the express dominion of Māori researchers and not researchers who happen to be Māori. This view implies that other forms of culturally sensitive research models have failed to meet satisfactory levels of cultural ‘safety’ (L. Smith, 1999). For those researchers implicated by this assertion, Smith (1999) advises four strategies which encompass the shifts

towards becoming more culturally sensitive in undertaking research with Māori. The first suggests a strategy of avoidance whereby the culturally unprepared researcher avoids dealing with the issues, or with Māori. The second recommends that researchers prepare themselves more fully by learning Māori language, attending hui and becoming more cognisant of Māori concerns. A third critical strategy promotes the need for consultation with Māori in order to gain support and informed prior consent. Finally, at an

institutional level, Smith (1999) encourages organisations to create and designate ‘space’

for more Māori researchers and ‘voices’.

Two fundamental principles underpin the conduct of ‘culturally safe’ kaupapa Māori research. The first requires the establishment of the research context through the

identification of the historical setting and cause. The second entails the identification of appropriate methods by which to research with people while, at the same time, promoting their self-determination. Bishop’s (1996) kaupapa Māori research framework used in

conjunction with qualitative research methodology employing a narrative and/or a collaborative co-construction storying approach, addresses both of these requirements.

Bishops (1996) framework acts as a mechanism by which ‘to deconstruct the hegemonies which have disempowered Māori from controlling and defining their own knowledge within the context of unequal power relations in New Zealand’ (Bishop, R. 1996, p.13).

The model addresses the concepts of initiation, benefits, representation, legitimation and accountability as subsets of power. It also provides a means by which to address the issues and concerns of Māori that have arisen as a result of the traditional, impositional models of research that have been implemented in the past. Identifying the critical questions of power relations creates a means whereby researchers are able to undertake research that enables research participants to maintain control of their own voices and the legitimation of their voices. As well, researchers are enabled to establish lines of

accountability through shared initiation and identification of benefits.

The idea of using the concepts of the initiation, benefits, representation, legitimation and accountability within the context of kaupapa Māori research, was developed when a series of studies were undertaken by Te Roopu Rangahau Tikanga Rua, the bicultural research group of the Department of Education at Otago University. The review identified an appropriate method by which to analyse the research processes applied in various research projects using a series of questions. These questions stemmed from the above analysis of power relations and sought to aid in the creation of a research ethic that was participant driven and premised on the sharing of power between the researcher and the researched.

Bishop’s (1996) ‘IBRLA’ model was employed as a framework to guide the formulation of questions for this study. That is, from the outset, consideration was given to the initiation of and the setting of research goals. Representation of interests, the needs and the concerns as addressed by the research and the perceived research benefits and the receiver of those benefits were of paramount importance in establishing this project.

Emphasis was also placed on the accuracy of reporting, the theorising of research

findings and the accountability of the researcher in relation to accessibility to the research findings and control over the distribution of knowledge (Bishop, 1996).

In conjunction with the fundamental requirements of kaupapa Māori research as outlined, data collection for the purpose of this study took the form of interviews conducted using qualitative research methodology and a narrative or collaborative storying approach.

Qualitative Research, Narrative Inquiry and Collaborative Storying

The world of human experience must be studied from the point of view of the historically and culturally situated individual (Denzin, N. & Lincoln, Y. 1994, p.


Qualitative research involves the use of qualitative data, for example interviews and participant observation, to understand and explain social phenomena; it does so by placing emphasis on processes and meanings which are not necessarily rigorously scrutinised or measured in terms of quantity, intensity or occurrence. Qualitative research highlights the socially constructed nature of reality, the close relationship between the researcher and what is studied, and the situational constraints that shape inquiry. Seeking answers to questions that illustrate how social experience is created and given meaning (Denzin and Lincoln, 1994) is central to this form of researching.

In keeping with the aims of this study, a combined interpretive and critical qualitative research method was adopted. The method was used to explore the life experiences and events which influenced and shaped how participants viewed, understood and constructed meanings and notions of home. The qualitative data collected took the form of oral histories gathered by way of formal interviews, ‘interview’s as chats’ (Bishop, 1996) and an ethnographic method based on observation, photography and note taking. Analysis and interpretation of the data involved the co-construction of stories based on the recorded oral histories of participants as told during both ‘formal’ and ‘chat’ interviews.

The individual stories sometimes included corroborated information drawn from secondary research sources, and field observations and notes.

Data Collection

The oral tradition is considered by Māori as the most important historical tradition for Māori. This is so because the learning of tribal and family histories and traditions is supervised by families and tribes (Royal, T. 1992, p. 20).

Oral histories encapsulate and disseminate tribal information that deals with the recent and distant past over a series of generations (Te Maire Tau, 2003). Using storying as a vehicle, the participants interviewed for this project recited oral history. That is, they recalled events that occurred within their lifetimes. These stories were recorded; they constitute the main source of data gathered for this project. To facilitate the storying (oral histories recitation) process as a data gathering tool, interviews utilising qualitative research methodology and a narrative storying approach, were conducted. Narrative, open ended type questions designed to draw out specific information from the

interviewees, were used to initiate interviews as conversations. The telling and retelling of stories occurred naturally throughout these conversations; the stories acted as a means of remembrance and a tool for understanding and learning (Binney, 2001; Attwood &

Magowan, 2001). In turn listening to, and hearing, the stories (oral narratives/histories) allowed the autonomy of the Māori world emerge (Binney, 2001).

As a contemporary research information gathering tool, story telling draws its authority from the integral role it has, since time immemorial, always played in indigenous cultures and traditions throughout the world. This authority is validated and confirmed ‘through the use of story telling, oral histories and the perspectives of elders and of women’

(Smith, L., 1999, p. 144) as being a legal means by which Māori and other indigenous groups identify themselves, define ownership of territories and assert their rights to self determination.

Using stories in this way, is exemplified by Temm (1990) who cites an example of a Ngati Pikiao tribal elder giving oral evidence to the Waitangi Tribunal. The elder was opposing the proposed discharge of effluent into the Kaituna River, by the Rotorua City Council. In describing the course of the river from the shores of Ngati Pikiao’s Lake

Rotoiti, the elder’s evocative narrative acted as a powerful mnemonic key; opening the door into the lost world of the ancestors into which his audience was lead:

He told us of the sequence of the natural features, illustrating the history of each. He spoke with deep emotion of the place called Te Wai-irangi, a stretch of water near to where the discharge was to take place as the pipeline is now planned. This point on the river (a lovely clear pool from which the river flows on into a green tunnel of vegetation) was, he said, ‘the place where my ancestors returning from battle would go to the water and rid themselves of the tapu upon them after the bloodshed of warfare.’ The silence in the meeting house as he spoke showed the close attention which all present, Māori and European, paid to his words (Cited in Temm, P. 1999, p.


Story telling is a retrieval of memory that links the past to the present in ways that enable both the teller and the listener to construct new meanings. In turn, these new meanings have the potential to inform, influence and change our understanding of events and also, our current ways of being, knowing and doing. E. Durie (1994) explains:

The artifices of story telling included the telescoping of drawn-out processes to present them in short order, the collapsing of time with ancestors of distant generations speaking to one another, and the re-arrangement of sequence. Māori chronology in oral tradition was not lineal but was categorized according to how the purpose was best achieved, the main purposes being to relay messages, transmit values, describe the essential outcome, explain the nature of the world, legitimate the current social or political position or to justify proposed action by ancestral precedent. Time was telescoped or collapsed according to the tradition that the ancestors and the past speak to and are part of the present. The order and spacing of events was not as important as the outcome and the value or ancestral advice to be relayed (Durie, E. 1994, p. 7).

Using narrative type questions to promote interviews as conversations is a culturally appropriate, kaupapa Māori responsive method for gathering research data. Inevitably, conversations lead to the recounting of experiences in the form of story.

The value of stories / narrative within the research context is affirmed by Jackson (1998) who states that ‘when we come together and talk about the old people or the escapades of the young’ we are ‘reclaiming the past to make sense of it for ourselves’ (Jackson, M.

1998, p. 77). In addition, Bishop (1996) suggests that storytelling is a useful and culturally appropriate way of not only representing the ‘diversities of truth’ (Bishop, R.

1998, p. 24) but of allowing the participant rather than the researcher to retain control.

Jackson (2007) agrees, suggesting that ‘our people have always believed that there is never just one truth or one way of doing things. The very notion of our whakapapa implies generations of different stories layered on top of one another’ (Jackson, M. 2007,