Whakapapa is the essence of health and well-being. Whakapapa is a tool, created by our tūpuna to frame our existence as Māori. By identifying the names of places and people, we create a timeline of locators of who we are, where we come from and where we exist today. The opportunity to “walk our pepeha” enables us to not only identify these places but also to engage with them, making the connection stronger. It is through whakapapa that we can identify who and where we come from; this is vital to identity and therefore to health and well-being.
Cultural identity research has largely focused on subjective and individualised notions of identity. In recent research we introduced the concept of “cultural embeddedness” as a framework for understanding the collective expectations derived from cultural values, practices and beliefs, and how these facets of culture are integrated into identity and enacted in everyday behaviours (Fox et al., 2021).
Māui is remembered in Māori narrative as a change maker, a challenger of boundaries and a trickster. However, in the 21st century these characteristics are likely to be frowned upon rather than celebrated in Aotearoa New Zealand’s education system. Māori students experiencing complex needs, like Māui, are known for pushing the boundaries. Rather than signalling strength of character, these characteristics are frequently viewed as deficits.
The overarching policy strategy for Māori education is contained in the document Ka Hikitia— Accelerating Success 2013–2017: The Māori Education Strategy (preceded by Ka Hikitia—Managing for Success 2008–2012), out of which fall some specific Māori education resources. One of these is Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners. The Tātaiako framework purports to define behaviours and skills that reflect a teacher’s Māori cultural competence to ensure the success of Māori students, as Māori.
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.
Research indicates that claiming a contemporary identity as Pākehā is being redefined by those individuals who engage closely with Te Ao Māori. This reopens the discussion of the implications for Pākehā researchers who engage across Māori research spaces. This article reports a reflective study I conducted using the transtheoretical model and its six stages of change (J. O. Prochaska & DiClemente, 1982) to understand my Pākehā cultural identity.
This research explored the capacity of whānau to overcome adversity, flourish and enjoy better health and well-being. It considers the multiple ways in which whānau contribute to the development of its members and the various mechanisms employed to foster growth and security. While external factors, internal dynamics, and financial pressures often constrain capacity, whānau have nevertheless demonstrated an innate ability to respond to these challenges, to make use of limited resources, and to react in positive and innovative ways.