Tagata o le Moana – The people of Moana: Traversing Pacific Indigenous Philosophy in Pasifika Education Research
Matapo, Jacoba Jacqueline
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This thesis, exploring past and potential of Pasifika education research challenges both traditional notions of Pacific Island cultures as immutable and European assumptions regarding subjectivity, knowledge, and ethical relationships. The study brings both Pacific Indigenous philosophies and Posthuman theory into conversation, confronting the Eurocentric individualistic universal human subject position that has permeated research processes and practices within the academy. The unique transnational position of Pasifika is conceptualised and considered within the context of New Zealand, affirming tuakana-teina, teina-tuakana relations between Pacific peoples and Māori as tangata whenua. The nomadic mobility of Pacific Indigenous philosophy is explored, recognising specific tensions for Pasifika education research in engaging Pacific Indigenous knowledge systems from a location away from ancestral lands. The study examines Pasifika education research paradigms and proposes an altogether different way of reimagining Pasifika education research to move beyond conventional critical-inquiry paradigms. In doing so, this thesis argues for a radical shift in the way the research assemblage is considered, calling for new ways of thinking onto-epistemologies, including non-human worlds as co-agentic and co-existent within knowledge exchange and co-creation. The thesis argues that by mobilising Pacific Indigenous philosophy within Pasifika education research, new and emergent opportunities may arise demonstrating the valuable contribution Pacific Indigenous philosophy provides education research. Furthermore, from this strength-based position, the thesis argues that Pasifika engagement in education must do more than focus on equity provision and notions of academic success. Through Pacific Indigenous philosophy, the ontologies, epistemologies and ethical relations are taken seriously within education research, thus affirming collective intersubjectiviteis that constitute the realities of Pasifika peoples.