Ko ahau tētahi whahine whakatumatuma = I am a woman who is forthright and outspoken : thesis submission for a Master of Fine Art, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand

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Massey University
This exegesis will focus on the various contexts, and their intersections, that I find myself in as a young, mana wāhine Māori artist. I position myself as an indigenous artist in a colonial settler state crown owned university as well as the neocolonial white cube. This exegesis will look at the tactics I utilise to cope with the inevitable racism I encounter, as well as outline the historic and contemporary effects of these encounters on young Māori women. I will discuss the ways in which other artists, academics and writers have tackled similar issues. This research is consciously centred around decolonising acts, including the decolonisation of perceptions around wāhine and how that affects Māori wāhine artists. The art that must be made in order to do this may be confronting to some, particularly pākehā. Giving Māori wāhine artists in art school the freedom to decolonise themselves in any way that feels right for them is vital for their development. I aim to articulate a potential path and strategies for how people can navigate these spaces successfully, both in the eyes of the western institution and in the eyes of their indigenous culture. In this piece of writing, I centre Mātauranga Māori, Māori knowledge and Tikanga Māori.
Māori Masters Thesis