'Maori Sovereignty' Donna Awatere - 1982
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This thesis explores the ambivalent nature of Maori political theory as expressed through the writings of Donna Awatere in her publication Maori Sovereignty. Consequently it traces the intellectual history of Maori political thought with a particular emphasis on how Maori have traditionally perceived and advanced their ‘sovereignty’ and its equivalent term, ‘tino rangatiratanga’. The reason for this emphasis is to show how Awatere changed Maori perception of their tino rangatiratanga when she coined the phrase ‘Maori Sovereignty’ in 1982. This work offers an insider’s account into New Zealand’s ‘movements of unity’ that had occurred during the 1970’s and 1980’s based on Awatere’s personal experiences and involvement in various groups. Further it sets out to capture the influences and events that led Awatere to write Maori Sovereignty in order to demonstrate how she had advanced Maori understanding of their tino rangatiratanga. In addition, its attempts to broaden Maori understanding of their tino rangatiratanga by analysing Awatere’s political theory in juxtaposition with global trends, more specifically, the decolonisation and nationalistic processes that occurred in the decades following World War Two. This thesis argues that Maori Sovereignty differed greatly from any other work previously written by both Maori and Pakeha as it challenged existing interpretations of how Maori had perceived and had advanced their tino rangatiratanga. Subsequently, Maori Sovereignty has carved its place as one of New Zealand’s most debated and misunderstood publication to ever come out of the 1980’s and because of this, the lack of proper analysis has given cause for this thesis.