Te Paerangi : darkness and light in Māori oral tradition. (2021)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Thesis DisciplineMaori Studies
Degree NameMaster of Arts
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
Darkness and Light have come to have particular associations in Western thought. Light is associated with Goodness, Knowledge, and Reason, the dichotomising impulse of the West rendering Darkness as Evil, Ignorance, and Superstition. This valorisation, however, is not universal; what do Māori oral traditions say about Darkness and Light? How might we attend to these traditions in a manner that engages their epistemic potential, rather than treating them as products of culture?
In order to respond to these questions, a methodology is developed in which thinking, as whaka aro, is rehabilitated as method in its own right. If certainty and clarity represent the desiderata of academic inquiry, with reason its sine qua non, whaka aro extends the notion of thought while refusing the epistemic demands of the academy. This thesis is an attempt to reinvigorate a Māori epistemology through sustained acts of whaka aro that treat oral traditions as capable of producing new knowledge in the epistemic-wilderness-as-freedom.