Te reo karanga o ngā tauria Māori : Māori students : their voices, their stories at the University of Canterbury, 1996-1998.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Set within New Zealand, and against a colonial backdrop that has shaped New Zealand's social fabric, this thesis explores the complex and contradictory relationship between a group of indigenous students and a mainstream institution of higher learning. Presented as 'stories within stories' it tells the stories of eleven Maori students' experiences at the University of Canterbury between 1996 and 1998. In doing so it tells of the struggles they faced and the strategies they employed to realise their dreams in an institution that did not reflect who they were. This thesis then, despite the diverse ways in which they grew up Maori, is a victory narrative of the students' struggles to maintain their own sense of being Maori in a mono-cultural institution. The topic arose out of my own experience of being a Maori student in a mainstream university and my endeavors to make sense of our institutional invisibility on campus and the silencing of our voices. Indeed, the questions that I was left asking spurred me on to become a research student. Therefore, this thesis is as much about my journey to becoming a kaupapa Maori researcher as it is about the journeys of the students into and within the University of Canterbury. Positioned outside of the prevailing scientific traditions, the kaupapa Maori phenomenological based study I conducted took for granted Maori cultural practices, values and aspirations. I drew on traditional ways of knowing and being, as well as contemporary narratives to understand the lived realities of the students. When I began to write my thesis it became clear that an orthodox account of Maori students' experiences was inconsistent with the way I had conducted the research, and the values and practices that underpinned it. I began to rewrite my thesis, and in the process wrote back to the academy in a way that better reflected not only who I am but also the Maori community within which the research was conducted. The stories speak for themselves.