'This is my ideal life' : the importance of place for how Māori elders understand a good life : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Attachment to place is considered to be an important component of ageing and can be intertwined with an older persons identity. For this reason place cannot be separated from understandings of a good life. This study examined the ways that elder Maori living on the East Cape construct a good life and how place may influence this understanding. Data analysis involved eight interviews with older Maori and a research visit to the East Cape. The thesis used a mixed methods approach to qualitative analysis combining Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis with Foucauldian Discourse Analysis. Principles of Kaupapa Maori research were also integrated throughout the research process. Four superordinate themes of ageing well, social connectedness, economic wellbeing, and autonomy and control were identified as contributing to the experience of a good life. The four superordinate themes represent different components that must be negotiated in order to balance these demands. The analysis also identified a number of discourses including positive ageing discourse, anti-consumption discourse, family discourse and neo-liberal discourse. These discourses were drawn on to balance competing expectations regarding a good life and present the participants identities in a morally virtuous manner. This analysis demonstrates how a good life depends upon finding a balance between the competing demands of living within the wider society, attachment to place, and Maori identity in later life.