Me kauhi rānei koe ki te huruhuru kākāpō : weaving a korowai that espouses the dreams and aspirations of Māori social workers’ practice, realising their mana tangata : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Social Work at Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa (Massey University, Manawatū), Aotearoa (New Zealand)
This thesis explored how Māori social workers were empowered to exercise their tino
rangatiratanga and mana tangata, worn as a korowai in their practice. The research offered an
understanding of how social workers navigated being Māori and being a social worker. Having a
Māori identity can often be encumbered with cultural expectations exceeding vocational
responsibilities that may or may not enhance professional and personal personas.
This thesis explored the experiences of six Māori social workers in kanohi kitea hui, and
considered the question: are you a Māori social worker or a social worker who is Māori? This
question is at the heart of the thesis title: ‘Me kauhi rānei koe ki te huruhuru kākāpō: Weaving a
korowai that espouses the dreams and aspirations of Māori social workers’ practice, realising
their mana tangata’. A qualitative kaupapa Māori approach was applied throughout the thesis
using a number of cultural frameworks, including whakataukī, inspirational quotes, a korowai
weaving frame and a tauparapara, embedding the research process in Te Ao Māori. The
metaphor of weaving a thesis korowai was an enduring theme throughout the thesis.
The findings in this thesis concluded that Māori social workers are highly resilient, innovative and
resourceful, and that despite the ongoing struggles of the effects of colonisation that impact their
identity, practice and ideology, they are self-actualising, self-determining and realising their
mana tangata. The findings demonstrated that for tino rangatiratanga to be fully realised
however, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the principles outlined in Pūao-te-Ata-tū need to be honoured.
This thesis concluded that an ambicultural approach to the tino rangatiratanga of indigenous
Māori social workers offers a new frame for weaving a korowai fit for practice, replacing the
outdated ill-fitting bicultural garment.