The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns in Aotearoa New Zealand have been a source of change, of uncertainty and of anxiety. The ways in which we engage with each other as Indigenous people have had to change drastically and suddenly; our ways of being, of sharing space, of being present, have all had to be adjusted. For Indigenous postgraduate students, COVID-19 and lockdowns have meant a re-shaping and re-thinking of how we come together as a community that supports each other within Westernised institutions and along our academic and research journeys.
This commentary explores the ways in which body sovereignty has been illustrated and supported in the sovereign space of Te Matatini (Ki Te Ao). It is suggested that the 2019 Te Matatini Ki Te Ao Kapa Haka Finals were a space that privileged Te Ao Māori and body sovereignty in multiple, intersecting ways. I propose that sovereign spaces such as Te Matatini provide an alternative illustration, discourse and narrative to current coloniality that restricts, limits and does not acknowledge body sovereignty.
He Vaka Moana is a strengths-based project framed by oceanic principles and methodologies that connect us as Māori and Pasifika to the ocean. The underpinning kaupapa and theoretical framework of He Vaka Moana is the Tongan proverb “pikipiki hama kae vaevae manava”, which refers to our individual vaka coming together to support each other as we navigate the moana.
This paper discusses experiences of Māori who self-report that they are socially assigned as Pākehā and explores these experiences in relation to Māori identity and colonisation. Utilising Kaupapa Māori theory, methodology and methods, semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 10 participants. Three interrelated themes were identified through a thematic analysis: claims of identity, challenges to identity and reinforcement of identity.