A critical examination of Māori economic development: a Ngāti Awa perspective

Mather, James Daniel
Shirley, Ian
Keiha, Pare
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Doctor of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

This thesis provides a critical examination of Māori economic development with particular emphasis on the Eastern Bay of Plenty iwi of Ngāti Awa.

A ‘development patterns framework’ was employed in order to explore key patterns and characteristics associated with Ngāti Awa development from the arrival of Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand, the subsequent colonisation by Britain, and the outcome of these two very different settlement patterns. The preliminary sections of the thesis discuss the relevant social, cultural, political and economic contexts that are used to build the multi-layered historical foundation of the research. The underlying evidential base includes a comprehensive literature review of historical records such as examination of the Ngāti Awa Treaty of Waitangi claim, as well as a comparative analysis of alternative indigenous development models in both non-tribal and international contexts.

The research approach was designed with two aims: Firstly, to clarify what is meant by ‘Maori Economic Development’ – an approach that allows the researcher to refine both its meaning and practical application. And secondly, to provide the foundation for the field research and to elicit key findings from a series of interviews conducted with ‘key informants’. The key ‘informants’ included leaders of the rūnanga, tribal members of Ngāti Awa, as well as external personnel regarded as influential in shaping Māori development policy and practice.

The historic patterns of development, and the cultural, commercial and community aspects of Ngāti Awatanga discussed in the literature review, in addition to the research fieldwork, contributed to the Māori development framework. The development of a framework was the major objective of this research in order that a uniquely Māori perspective on development from an iwi-centric basis could then be provided.

The creation of specific iwi-centric research combined with a kaupapa Māori development framework, are two significant outcomes arising from the research process. These outcomes not only make an original contribution to knowledge about Māori development, but they have been achieved using a non-traditional research approach. In addition, the key findings and the conclusions identified in this research should assist Ngāti Awa as the tribe endeavours to adapt to the many future challenges that lie ahead.

Māori economic development , Ngāti Awa
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