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The negotiation of Takapuneke: conflicting notions of value of a tapu site

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Struggles over indigeneity in Aotearoa/New Zealand have their roots in events that occurred before the creation of the nation. Ten years before the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, the founding document of relations between Māori and colonial Britain, there was a massacre at the site of Takapuneke. The event helped to give birth to the nation and immediately started the struggle of Māori indigeneity against the increasingly politically dominant colonials. There are parallel struggles in contemporary New Zealand, as the country debates and attempts to rectify the concept of a bi-cultural society. These on-going struggles can help us understand how Māori are able to exercise agency and engage in practices that allow them to promote their indigeneity. The contemporary events around the site of the massacre at Takapuneke will illustrate such a struggle between the local Māori at Onuku and three bureaucratic and civic organizations.
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Keywords: Māori; Onuku; Takapuneke; agency; tapu

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, St. Louis University, St. Louis, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2012

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