Wāhine kaihautū, wāhine whai mana navigating the tides of change : Whakatōhea women and tribal socio-politics : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Māori Studies at Massey University
This thesis explored the socio-political experiences and views of seven Maori women from the tribe of Whakatahea. The project adopted a Maori-centred theoretical and research approach that included the researcher as a member of the researched group. It aimed to draw out the common themes, from the women's recollections of their experiences and views of the socio-political decision-making affairs within
whanau, hapu, and iwi. The women identified barriers to participation and strategies to overcome these barriers. Qualifications reflected traditional Maori values and practices. Rights according to whakapapa,
and the principle "he kanohi kitea", being seen, were the obvious criterion. Poor information channels, minimal consultation, gender bias, age and time constraints were
some of the issues identified as barriers to participation.
It was found that whanau governance committees more closely reflected traditional values and customs that saw
women and men as sharing power, more so than hapu and iwi organisations. The gender imbalance was viewed, by the women participants, as problematic.
They concluded that better gender balance at all levels of the socio-political affairs of Whakatohea would ensure greater informed decision-making for the social, educational, economic, and spiritual well-being of the
tribe today and for future generations.