Exploring personal and political issues of identity for white Maori women : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Social Policy and Social Work at Massey University
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The aim of this research is to explore the personal and political issues of identity for white Maori women in Aotearoa. This was inspired by recognition that the lives of white Maori women are not accounted for in our present society. The life stories of eight women from multi-tribal backgrounds were gathered in semi-structured, in-depth interviews. My life story was written and incorporated both as a reason for conducting this research and as data. The focus of the study is on Maori women, which reflects my gender and cultural identity. Hence my Mana Wahine and Kaupapa Maori values influenced the methodology and theoretical concepts used to add meaning to the narratives. A desire to produce research which would empower and not further colonise those I was researching led me to utilise a structural analysis framework for the structure and analysis of the research. The strategy of 'researching back' was used to locate colonising aspects in the theoretical and historical literature. The design is qualitative, the method is kaupapa Maori and a strategy of multiple triangulation is used. I utilised storytelling in gathering data and content analysis to locate the narrative themes. The participants identify as tangata whenua. The findings support this chosen position and highlight the influential social, political and legislative factors which have shaped their identification processes.