Capturing the Kiwi Spirit: An exploration into the link between national identity, land and spirituality from Māori and Pākehā perspectives
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
People telling stories of national identity, land and spirituality contribute to the local formation of the nation. I explore this view of nationhood in Aotearoa/New Zealand from Māori and Pākehā perspectives. Theorising this exploration, I form my own national identity concept for guiding analysis, that of locally narrated roots. Locally narrated roots is, essentially, a way of looking at national identity through the everyday narration of land, spirituality and history/ancestry by individuals. Supporting the production of this term is Smith’s (2003) theory of revised ethno-symbolism, which links religion, nationalism, land and history/ancestry, and Thompson’s (2001) grounded, everyday approach summed up as local production of national identity. Research methods draw upon Thompson’s people-focussed approach in conjunction with a narrative approach inspired by life story and Kaupapa Māori Research practices, which informed the conducting of twelve semi-structured interviews. From these interviews, six Māori and six Pākehā stories of history, ancestry, spirituality, land and identity were generated. These narratives revealed that colonial settler society, romanticism and whakapapa (genealogy) are central to this research and vital for further exploration on national identity. I close with the suggestion that participants’ stories enact a process of locally authenticating one’s national identity. I also suggest this local authentication is a secular spirituality, an idea that combines both patent secularism and spirituality, and is expressed through land, history and ancestry in Aotearoa/New Zealand.