History, gender and tradition in the Māori nation : female leaders in Witi Ihimaera's The Matriarch, The Whale Rider and The Parihaka Woman : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in English at Massey University, Manawatū, New Zealand

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Massey University
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This research is underpinned by the question of how Witi Ihimaera portrays the survival of Māori nationhood through his female protagonists in The Matriarch, The Whale Rider and The Parihaka Woman. Specifically this thesis aims to inves-tigate how the texts question and reconsider ethnocentric Western notions of history, while exploring a Māori point of view that interrogates and refigures that history through recourse to myth; it also examines how the modes of transmission of Indigenous mythologies in these works intercept both racial politics and the gender protocols framing the interpretation of Indigenous bodies. I shall argue that Ihimaera’s historical revisionism seeks to refigure Māoridom’s links to tradi-tion and restore a symbolic Māori sovereignty through an idea of history that can encompass both Pākehā and Māori.
Ihimaera, Witi, Criticism and interpretation, Maori (New Zealand people) in literature, Women in literature, Women, Maori, Leaders