Female Māori identity: a multimodal interaction analysis

Matelau, Tui Moana
Norris, Sigrid
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Master of Communication Studies
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Auckland University of Technology

Research into Māori identity has revealed cultural identities that neglect to include a large number of Māori and/or negative identities that are grounded in negative representations of Māori. Fluid Māori identity is an emerging cultural identity and is encouraging but there continues to be a gap in the research into an inclusive Māori identity. The research for this thesis was conducted in order to further explore Māori identity in the hope of contributing to the research on fluid Māori identities. It is important to explore more inclusive Māori identity/ties as initiative programmes that are used to increase success of Māori students in tertiary programmes or programmes that are used in the community often use a traditional/marae Māori identity. This identity can create cultural enrichment but they can also exclude Māori who do not share the traditional/marae Māori identity.

This small scale qualitative study used ethnographic observations of two Māori female participants and semi-structured socio linguistic interviews in order to explore the participants’ Māori identity/ties using multimodal (inter)action analysis (Norris, 2004; Norris 2011). Findings from the first round of data collection revealed two distinctive Māori identities and so a second interview was organised in order to explore the habitus (Bordieu, 1977) that influenced the construction of the participants’ Māori identity/ties. It became clear that there are numerous networks and institutions that contribute to the layers of discourse that enforce certain Māori identities that I found in the project. Understanding the Māori identities that these participants enact in certain environments and the layers of discourse that contribute to the construction of their Māori identity/ies enables us to see where initiative programmes could be improved. To this end, the thesis concludes with recommendations that apply to community and educational initiatives in the hope of increasing their success.

Māori identity , Multimodal interaction analysis , Habitus , Identity , Ethnography
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