Abstract: This paper examines the development of Māori studies since it was first taught as an academic subject at Auckland University in 1952. While retaining a strong focus on language learning, Māori studies increasingly includes other culture-based subjects. It espouses theories and methodologies that empower Māori communities and critique Eurocentric scholarship, such as kaupapa Māori. Māori studies is described as mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge), although iwi (tribal-based) wānanga (colleges of learning) argue they are the appropriate repositories. Wānanga, teaching specific iwi knowledge, complement the generalizing Māori studies, which challenges Western universities from within. New Zealand’s universities are developing Treaty of Waitangi–based relationships with Māori communities, and with their own Māori staff and students. However, Māori intellectual practices within Western university disciplines remain contested. Here Māori studies can help support Māori scholarship in the wider institution. Māori studies looks outward to indigenous and Pacific studies, all concerned to rebalance the effects of colonization and explore interdisciplinary spaces. Māori and Pacific studies share a common ancestry and cultural world of language and metaphor. Although frequently separated institutionally, with some Māori studies programs focusing exclusively on Māori, others embrace Pacific studies as equal partners. Māori studies instructs nonindigenous or Pākehā students, but many contest their teaching or research function. Others argue for bicultural research models incorporating Pākehā or nonindigenous researchers and enabling mutually respectful and beneficial relationships in place of a Māori/Pākehā binary opposition, a position acknowledging researchers with shared cultural affiliations.
The Contemporary Pacific – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Aug 20, 2011