He kawa oranga : Māori achievement in the 21st century : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Māori Studies at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
He Kawa Oranga, Māori Achievement in the 21st Century, investigates the relevance of kawa to modern times. The thesis is essentially about Māori engagement with society and the ways in which kawa can be applied to a range of situations and events in Te Ao Hurihuri, the changing world. But although the focus is on kawa in contemporary times, the origins of kawa are ancient and are embedded in a Māori knowledge system, Mātauranga Māori. For that reason the research methodology adopted in the thesis is based on a Mātauranga Maori epistemology and an associated research paradigm that draws on Māori concepts of knowledge, Knowledge transfer, and the expansion of knowledge. Insights from exponents of kawa, observations on marae, together with an examination of kawa in three contemporary situations contributed to and understanding of the several dimensions of kawa. An important finding was that the outward expressions of kawa have little meaning if they are detached from the kaupapa, the values, that underlie the kawa. The values contained in kawa reflect Māori world views and especially the relationships between people and between people and the environment. Maintaining the values in environments where Māori world views are not the prevailing norm is one of the dilemmas addressed in He Kawa Oranga. The thesis concludes, however, that kawa provides a useful values-based approach to the encounters that will increasingly confront young Māori in a rapidly changing world. It does not suggest a return to the past, but by linking values and actions in ways that make sense to Māori, kawa is seen as an enabling process that can enhance performance, generate cohesion, inspire achievement and provide a measure of certainty.