This general issue of MAI Journal, Volume 6, Issue, 1 (2017) contains articles looking at a broad range of Māori issues in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The first article, entitled "Identity and demographics predict voter enrolment on the Māori electoral role: Findings from a national sample" by Lara Greaves, Danny Osborne, Carla Houkamau and Chris Sibley draws upon data from the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study and the Multidimensional Model of Māori Identity and Cultural Engagement self-report measure to find the statistical predictors of being enrolled to vote on the Māori roll. What they found was that “Higher Group Membership Evaluation (the extent to which someone thinks that being Māori is positive and part of their self-concept) and higher Socio-Political Consciousness (engagement with Māori political issues) predicted enrolment on the Māori roll" (Greaves et al, 2017: 1). With the 2017 elections fast approaching, this paper offers a timely insight into one dimension of Māori political decision making in Aotearoa New Zealand and "...may be useful for those looking to increase Māori roll enrolment but also may help to combat deficit-based arguments for abolition of the Māori seats.” (Greaves et al, 2017: 1)
The second article authored by Rochai Taiaroa and Wayne Smith entitled "Māori students’ experiences of their Māori identity in a Bachelor of Physical Education" examines how Māori students enrolled in a Bachelor of Physical Education programme understood their identity as Māori within this particular education context. The findings from their research highlight the value of culturally sustaining environments in tertiary education programmes for enhancing Māori success. More specifically, the paper states, "these students recognised that when they were empowered and felt safe, and the environment was right, education could enhance their cultural identity" (Taiaroa and Smith, 2017: 26)
The third article by Kiri Parata and Heather Gifford entitled "It’s good for me and my Whänau”: Marae participation as a springboard for oranga" looks at the way that oranga is impacted, either positively or negatively, by iwi members connectedness to their marae. Drawing upon qualitative research initiated by Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai Charitable Trust and conducted by iwi, the authors examined the various ways that we might understand notions of connectedness. Overall, the findings of the research demonstrate a positive relationship between strong cultural attachment and wellbeing.
In the feature article for this issue: “It’s all part of the job”: Everyday silencing in the life of a secondary school teacher, Liana MacDonald and Martyn Reynolds look at the issue of racial silencing in mainstream education. Using an innovative approach to the autoethnographic method the authors analyses demonstrate that "...a critical understanding of the ways that race and racism shape educational experiences would open the door to addressing the real challenged faced by culturally marginalised students" (MacDonald and Reynolds, 2017: 56).
The fifth contribution for this issue entitled "Haka on the horizon: Mäori contemporary dance and whare tapere" was written by Ojeya Cruz Banks. Inspired by the doctoral thesis of Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, in this paper Cruz Banks examines how a research alliance between award winning choreographer Louise Potiki Bryant and Royal have "...yeilded rich conceptual resources for evolving theories and practices on Māori dance." (Cruz Banks, 2017: 62)
The sixth addition in this issue is a commentary piece written by Ocean Mercier entitled Bringing the “trickster wasp” into the discourse on biotechnological controls of “pest wasps”. Here, Mercier considers the social and cultural perceptions of wasps in Aotearoa in the context of the New Zealand Governments announcement of a 'Predator Free NZ by 2050' in 2016. This commentary also looks at the role of kaitiakitanga and tikanga in the framing of discourses around wasps in Aotearoa.
The final article in this issue entitled Whānau hauā: Reframing disability from an Indigenous perspective by Huhana Hickey and Denise Wilson examines an area of critical importance for Māori whānau in Aotearoa New Zealand. With the knowledge that one in three Māori experience some form of disability, Hickey and Wilson examine existing Western approaches to working with disabled Māori before presenting an Indigenous perspective of Whānaua Hauā as an alternative.