Te kete, the briefcase, te tuara : the balancing act-- Maori women in the primary sector : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Educational Administration, Massey University
This thesis examines the educational experiences of eight Maori women. It draws from their reflections as students and teachers to investigate the ways in which they strategised their negotiation of educational contexts not conducive to their interests or needs. The thesis utilises metaphor across the theoretical and discussion chapters initially to describe, and then draw out the main themes emerging from this research. Patu as a metaphor is used in this thesis to enable a discussion about institutions as networks which through discursive practice link and centre particular thought processes, social structure and ways of behaving which for instrumental purposes need to be emulated by all others. Entering or accessing the social networks reproduced in institutions requires an engagement with ways of knowing, ways of structuring what is known, processes of engagement and validation, delineated by cultural, gendered and class imperatives. Through a network analytic lens successful participation in institutions is not based on individuals per se but on how individuals are placed in resource rich networks providing access to institutional rewards advanced by groups and endorsed by collectives that validate particular individuals and attempt to invalidate others. The kete and the briefcase both depicted as cultural repositories delineated the two cultural borders negotiated. The kete describes the participants' self ascribed identity. The briefcase exemplifies the institutional contexts that attempt to define the kete in its own terms. The tuara metaphorically represents the counter hegemonic strategies used by participants to balance and counter balance institutionalised views of themselves. The research analyses and interprets their experience drawn from individual, paired and group focus interviews to explore the use of making silence and breaking silence as strategies.