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Expressions of Māori multiplicity in (re)connection to ngā taonga tuku iho

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As the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand, Māori have often been at the forefront in terms of expressing rights to sovereignty and independence. Political activism decrying imperialist colonization and highlighting the negative effects on our peoples thrust Māori into international arenas where the term ‘indigenous’ and notions of indigeneity became increasingly common. The burgeoning of Māori culture during and following the Māori cultural renaissance in the 1970s and 1980s has seen many Māori people reconnect and reclaim that culture in a variety of ways. During that renaissance, ancestral cultural features that Māori shared – ngā taonga tuku iho – were emphasised. Perhaps an unintended consequence, however, was that Māori multiplicity was minimised, while their homogeneity was emphasised. Indigeneity provided another unifying initiative which also carries the hazard of homogenizing indigenous groups, both at local and international levels. Māori multiplicity – the diverse and multiple ways in which Māori people express who we are as Māori – is evident on urban marae. The marae community of Awataha provides an exemplar of the complexities of this multiplicity at this grass-roots level that nevertheless has been influenced by national and international notions of indigenous peoples and indigeneity.
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Keywords: Māori multiplicity; cultural renaissance; indigeneity; urban marae

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Research Centre for Māori Health & Development, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand

Publication date: July 1, 2012

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