MAI Journal 2020: Volume 9 Issue 4 - Covid-19 Issue
In this special Covid-19 Situation Reports Issue, the lead report by Fiona Cram, MAHI AROHA: Aroha ki te tangata, he tāngata explores the impact of Covid-19 lockdown in New Zealand on “bubbles” and the response of Māori leaders to offset increased vulnerability due to confinement, financial hardship, and issues of crowding or isolation. The report highlights the contribution of mahi aroha by Māori during lockdown and argues that access to quality, affordable housing is foundational for the success and sustainability of Māori essential workers.
The second situation report by Dion Enari and Jacoba Matapo is titled THE DIGITAL VĀ: Pasifika education innovation during the COVID-19 pandemic and eloquently describes how “he COVID-19 pandemic has caused the world to stop” including impacts on societal modes of being and operating. The authors argue that the collective responsibility is now premised on a discourse of prevention or fear and that these tensions have relevance to higher education. The report elucidates such tensions through Pacific Indigenous philosophy that affirms collective and relational ontologies by way of transnational Pasifika engagement in the university. The authors, two Pasifika researchers have never physically met, however, through the digital vā, their voices are connected to tell this story.
The third report in this issue by Tahu Kukutai, Tracey McIntosh, Helen Moewaka Barnes, and Tim McCreanor, is titled NEW NORMAL: Same inequities or engaged Te Tiriti partnership? It focuses on the importance of Māori partnership and leadership in the new normal of a post-COVID Aotearoa. The transformational vision of just relationships set out by Matike Mai are identified as having high relevance to locate Māori at their centre so that inequities that existed before the pandemic are not maintained or further deepened. The report is a call for a shift from centralised top down approaches to be replaced with the richness of mātauranga Māori and Aotearoa’s dual knowledge systems.
The next report in this issue titled THE RELEVANCE OF TE TIRITI O WAITANGI IN THE COVID-19 ERA is written by Claire Charters. This author highlights how Te Tiriti o Waitangi is relevant to state and Māori regulation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting also that it was somewhat ignored by Aotearoa New Zealand’s state institutions during the country’s initial response. Focusing on the te reo text of Te Tiriti as the constitutionally and legally primary text of the Treaty of Waitangi, the author argues that the government needs to do more in its COVID-19 regulatory response to comply with Te Tiriti, and therefore to act constitutionally and with legitimacy.
The fifth report written by Merata Kawharu titled SYSTEM RESET: Regenerating the marae economy outlines roles marae can play in communities in a post-COVID-19 lockdown “reset”? This situation report looks at the opportunity of unlocking innovation within marae kin communities through developing food system enterprises. It considers the idea of regenerating gardens and associated initiatives. It argues that gardens that once fed local kin communities may not only provide kai for locally resident members but also be developed at new scales to provide for kin members wherever they live. The author argues that resetting the economic and cultural agenda from a marae community perspective is important now more than ever given the uncertainties that have emerged since the COVID-19 pandemic.
The last Situation Report is co-authored by Ashlea Gillon, Kiri West, and Yvonne Ualesi and is titled KĀRE Ā-TINANA, ENGARI, Ā-WAIRUA: TE MANA O TE KARERE: Re-thinking Indigenous postgraduate whanaungatanga. This report sheds light on the complexities of postgraduate students lives during the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns in Aotearoa New Zealand; a time of change, uncertainty and anxiety. For Indigenous postgraduate students, COVID-19 and lockdowns have meant a re-shaping and re-thinking of how they come together as a community that supports each other within Westernised institutions and along their academic and research journeys. This situation report delves into some of the Indigenous postgraduate students’ realities and experiences, and the ways in which (whaka)whanaungatanga has been fluid during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns. This discussion highlights the resourcefulness of Indigenous postgraduate students and the ways in which they operate from spaces of aroha ki te tangata.