Contemporary perceptions of mana wahine Māori in Australia: A diasporic discussion
Mei Winitana

Abstract


My proposed PhD thesis investigates contemporary perceptions of ‘mana wahine Māori’, both at home in Āotearoa (New Zealand), and in Australia diasporas. By taking into consideration that identity and culture are transformative and ongoing processes, the research seeks to understand how wāhine Māori (Māori women) in the Australian context are transforming their mana wahine Māori, while further adding to the evolving mana wahine Māori paradigm. The theories already informing mana wahine Māori will be scoped in this research, creating a clear picture of the shape and form of mana wahine Māori in Āotearoa. Fundamental principles will then be revealed to articulate the transformations emerging in Australia.

The proposed research will glean some of the challenges, compromises, and potential contradictions to tikanga Māori for wāhine Māori. They will be reflected upon to better understand the social realities in changed social contexts. Three target groups of wāhine Māori will be interviewed; those who have chosen to stay in Āotearoa, those who have resided in Australia and have returned home, and those wāhine Māori who are residents in Australia. It is hypothesised that mana wahine Māori continues to exhibit resiliency, strength, and adaptability, drawn from many realms in ‘te āo Māori’ (the Māori world), to continue to be robust in whatever social realities they are faced with in the Australian context.

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