Kīorahi ki Waitaha : an investigation into Māori kīorahi players in the Waitaha region.
Thesis DisciplineMaori Studies
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Kīorahi is a Māori ball game that as part of a renaissance of Māori culture has been utilised by contemporary Māori and adopted as a popular pastime. The game is based on a traditional narrative emphasising perseverance and forgiveness. The sport utilises skills that players would be familiar with from participating in other popular Western sports and is accessible to players with no Te Reo Māori or prior knowledge of tikanga. The objective of this study was to investigate why Māori players participate in kīorahi, whether this participation supported their self-identity as Māori and generated bonding capital for the players. The researcher was interested to find out whether participation in kīorahi supported the creation and maintenance of a Māori self-identity and created bonding capital that players could operationalise. To achieve this objective seven questions were formulated; what is the prime reason for Māori participation in kīorahi, is the primary reason Māori choose to play kīorahi because it is a Māori sport, what is the level of self-identity as Māori of kīorahi players in Waitaha, is kīorahi an activity chosen by Māori with low levels of self-identity as a Māori activity to participate in, does participating in kīorahi assist Māori players in strengthening their Māori identity, does participating in kīorahi allow Māori players to create bonding capital, and how do Māori kīorahi players in Waitaha operationalise bonding social capital created through participation in the sport. This study utilised a kaupapa Māori paradigm alongside a grounded theory approach. The primary collection instruments were a survey and an interview. Survey data was collected from 36 Māori kīorahi players via a convenience sampling method and then a judgement sample of ten players were selected for an interview. The interviewees were selected because they fell across spectrum of the researcher’s Māori self-identity and bonding capital models. The survey contained questions designed to; assess what characteristics of kīorahi players valued, determine where Māori players fell on Māori self-identity and bonding capital models designed by the researcher. The survey data from an open question about what the players enjoyed about kīorahi resulted in the following four kaupapa; the characteristics of the game’, ‘Whanaungatanga’, ‘Health benefits derived from playing’ and ‘Participation is enjoyable’. Five ranking questions asking players to; identify the importance of kīorahi being a traditional game, providing opportunities to socialise with other Māori, providing opportunities to socialise with people in general, utilise Te Reo Māori and keep fit, were all ranked positively by respondents. The survey data also indicated that the majority of Māori players had created bonding capital and were able operationalise it. When reviewing where the Māori players fell on the researcher’s Māori identity model surprisingly only four male respondents had a weak Māori selfidentity. The interview results showed that players also valued the same things about kīorahi as the survey respondents. The way in which interviewees operationalised their bonding capital differed slightly from survey respondents however. Kīorahi as a game attracts Māori participation because it is an accessible sport due to its use of actions similar to other sports and the fact that it is seen as fun, healthy and a traditional Māori sport that facilitates Te Reo Māori acquisition and learning about tikanga. The sport also facilitates the generation of bonding capital, though the way in which it is operationalised may need to be further explored. Kīorahi is a game that assists Māori in constructing and maintaining their self-identity as Māori, including those Māori whose self-identity as Māori is weak, through providing opportunities for Te Reo Māori acquisition, incorporation of other Māori into player’s social network and connections to a perceived authentic Māori narrative.