This article has been inspired by doctoral research that focused on the pathway to leadership for wāhine Māori. For the purpose of the study, a mana wahine theoretical framework was created to analyse the lived experiences and character of several Māori women leaders. Known in the study as the Moko Wahine framework, it is embedded in Māori cultural values. A key aspect of the Moko Wahine framework is the potential to strengthen the Indigenous identity of women leaders who are of Māori descent.
This article has been inspired by “Why Isn’t My Professor Māori?” (McAllister et al., 2019), an article which appeared in this journal and addressed the under-representation of, and inequities facing, Māori academic staff in universities in Aotearoa New Zealand. I present some personal reflections and raise some questions with regard to academics with Māori heritage but who struggle to identify as Māori.
This paper considers the use of contemporary popular waiata in promulgating a Māori worldview by expressing cultural identity and belonging. Waiata are a traditional medium, a practice through which Māori knowledge, histories, culture and language continue to be passed down from one generation to another (Ka‘ai-Mahuta, 2010; McLean, 1996; Orbell, 1991; Smith, 2003). Similarities can be observed between traditional and contemporary waiata, in that messages are delivered through musical, melodic, rhythmic and harmonic motifs that are distinctively Māori.