Native noise: Māori popular music and indigenous cultural identity

Breault, Ainsley
Peters, Geraldene
King, Jason
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Master of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

This thesis argues that Māori popular music, regardless of genre, is a valuable resource in the formulation of a vibrant and relevant Māori rangatahi (youth) identity. Specifically, the research investigates the complex relationship between popular music, social space, and Māori culture and community in Aotearoa. The researcher interviewed six participants from within the Māori music community and practiced participant observation at popular music events. The findings of this qualitative research are framed by an in-depth literature review into questions of Māori identity, as well as an application of ethnomusicology theories on the relationship of music to place and community. The research output includes both a 30-minute documentary and this accompanying exegesis, which frames the documentary within relevant fields of scholarship and presents a critical analysis of its successes and weaknesses. The researcher elected to create a documentary in recognition of the medium’s ability to maintain the voice of the research participants, capture the dynamism of the Māori popular music scene, and increase the potential for the research to reach a wider audience. The use of documentary also allows for an exploration of the relationship between music and documentary, and begins a discussion on the potential of socially-conscious rockumentaries to reveal crucial social issues. Finally, the exegesis questions the ethics of outsider filmmaking, and explores how the concept of ‘Kaupapa Māori filmmaking’ influenced the process of making the film.

Māori , popular music , documentary , ethnomusicology , rangatahi , social space
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