An indigenous kaupapa Māori approach: mother’s experiences of partner violence and the nurturing of affectional bonds with tamariki
This thesis examines the important relationship dynamics between Māori mothers and their tamariki (children) when exposure to partner violence is experienced. The research is contextualised within a Kaupapa Māori methodology where Indigenous qualitative methods provide the foundations for theorising and researching. The study investigated twelve Māori mothers’ experiences of partner violence, and the fostering of affectional bonds with their tamariki. The context for examining the interface between these two conditions included a Mana Wāhine approach and Pūrākau - a Māori narrative story-telling process where Māori mothers shared their experiences of partner violence and mothering. The pūrākau provided the main source of data from which Te-ata-tu Pūrākau emerged as a newly developed Indigenous analysis method. Attachment theory provided useful insights concerning the nature in which affectional bonds develop between a young child and their primary caregiver, most often the mother. In this study whakapapa is fundamental to whānau, hapū and iwi, providing the cultural construct for understanding the way in which affectional bonds are developed and fostered in Māori kin based groups. Attachment theory is contrasted with Māori understandings that have a primary focus on whakapapa (genealogy) and Tūhonotanga as two important concepts for understanding the nature of Māori relationships. The women who participated in this research study experienced different levels of disconnection from traditional Māori society where the break-down of traditional values contributed to their sense of mournfulness, mistrust, disillusionment, confusion, cynicism and a deep longing for healthy relationships. Some of the findings from this research are consistent with what we currently know about violence against women and children. Principally the pūrākau have revealed the need to develop healing pathways that validate core values that underpin a secure Māori identity, where Mana Wāhine and Mana Tangata provide the platform for positive relationship building.