Creating a modern Maori identity through Kapa Haka.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Ariā – Abstract This thesis is concerned with discovering if and how Māori cultural performance, which we now know as Kapa Haka, has contributed to the creation and development of a modern Māori identity. Māori cultural identity is traditionally traced through whakapapa and is confirmed by a practising knowledge of te reo Māori, kawa and tikanga. Whakapapa links a person to his or her atua, tangata, whenua, tūrangawaewae, marae, whānau, hapū, iwi and waka. The question arises as to whether these are still essential elements in defining a modern Māori (cultural) identity. I want to find out what that modern Māori identity looks like and how it is described. I say it is described in and by Kapa Haka. The framework used for this thesis is that of a Kapa Haka performance, starting with the whakaeke – introduction, and ending with the whakawātea - exit. It weaves together personal histories - my own and those who have memory of the first Festival in 1972 and other developments. It also incorporates social history as it has affected Māori. It looks at the impact this has had on Kapa Haka from the early concert parties set up for tourist consumption, to iwi and Hāhi hui, to Te Matatini in the present, all the while developing an argument for a modern Māori identity. In undertaking to write this doctoral thesis in Theatre and Film Studies, I have placed myself in a position where I have to step outside of my assumptions of what I think I know about who I am and what I am. This is in order to attempt to explain what I mean by not only a cultural identity, but also a modern Māori identity, as identified in Kapa Haka, so that others will understand. I need to be able to sing the song when I need to, remembering that it is what I do best.