The status of contemporary Māori music : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Philosophy at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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Massey University
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Music has always been an integral part of day to day living in both traditional and contemporary Maori society. Significant to Maori music is a distinct philosophical and cultural perspective. Essentially these principles encapsulate the notion of Maori defining their own priorities, expressions, locality and collective aspirations within the realm of music making. For these reasons, the scope of Maori music extends beyond the individual artist and therefore performance. It is concerned with reasserting self determination and collective purpose thus situating itself within the broader context of Maori development. This thesis examines the status of contemporary Maori music, its priorities, distinctive features, and social realities. The research undertaken highlights the historic decontextualisation of Maori worldview, language, music and culture emphasising how western approaches to music making are privileged rendering Maori music systems invalid. Significant to this research has been the determination of an ideological shift referred to as the augmented identity. This reconstruction situates contemporary Maori music in its own distinct space although adjacent to traditional Maori music culture and likewise western popular culture. In addition this study presents a pictorial framework in which to conceptualise the range of influences that assist in the reconstruction of an augmented identity. Another crucial area of this thesis has been the collation of views drawn from a small sample group of practitioners and organisations involved in the contemporary Maori music sector. The research proposes that contemporary expression utilises selective elements of traditional Maori worldview as a premise of cultural validation. Additionally this research claims that artists of Maori descent utilising western performative and aesthetic characteristics generate a false impression of contemporary Maori music and its priorities. As a result Maori worldview and language is often a site of contention for Kaupapa Maori music makers in the national music scene.
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Maori music, Traditional culture, Popular culture