“ ... AND DID SHE CRY IN MĀORI?” Recovering, reassembling and restorying Tainui ancestresses in Aotearoa New Zealand
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This thesis examines and reveals pre-colonial and colonial organisation of oral traditions, attitudes and positions in relation to significant Tainui ancestresses. Mana wahine, womanist, Kaupapa Māori and Indigenous autoethnography are key theories and methodologies that I have used to reclaim, rediscover and retell their herstories. This approach allows for the contexualisation of Tainui women based on Māori cultural values and practices. The women examined are Whakaotirangi, Marama, Ruapūtahanga and Rehe Hekina Kenehuru. The information that informs this thesis is from textual sources including those from the chiefly narrated accounts, publications, newspapers and manuscripts. This thesis is a challenge to patriarchal understandings and interpretations of female inferiority in ancient practices, including karakia and whakapapa rites. I argue that the study of ancient karakia, whakataukī and tradition reveals that Māori women held a place of the highest regard and at times exerted power of a stronger force than their male counterparts: only the women’s voice could whakatika certain events. Tainui women were crucial representatives between the earthly and the spiritual domains. Significantly, I have ‘restoryed’ the ancestresses, the effect being to reclaim a powerful place for women in Māori societies in contemporary times.