Indigenous people are over-represented as professional players in many sporting codes, and recently a trend has developed whereby Indigenous athletes are choosing to play internationally for their heritage nations as opposed to the top-tier countries they reside in. With regard to rugby league and rugby union, many of these athletes are Pasifika who have had minimal exposure to their heritage nations, being born and raised in, for example, Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia or the United States. Nevertheless, this cohort is increasingly choosing to play for their heritage nations, despite the substantial cut in pay and available resources this decision entails.
This article has been inspired by doctoral research that focused on the pathway to leadership for wāhine Māori. For the purpose of the study, a mana wahine theoretical framework was created to analyse the lived experiences and character of several Māori women leaders. Known in the study as the Moko Wahine framework, it is embedded in Māori cultural values. A key aspect of the Moko Wahine framework is the potential to strengthen the Indigenous identity of women leaders who are of Māori descent. This theoretical framework is drawn from the characteristics and values of Moerangi Ratahi, a Māori woman leader of Ngāti Awa who lived from the mid-1800s through to the late 1900s.
This article has been inspired by “Why Isn’t My Professor Māori?” (McAllister et al., 2019), an article which appeared in this journal and addressed the under-representation of, and inequities facing, Māori academic staff in universities in Aotearoa New Zealand. I present some personal reflections and raise some questions with regard to academics with Māori heritage but who struggle to identify as Māori. I also describe some of the discomfort of being in the “middle ground” of cultural identity and how this has come about, and argue that we need to engage with such troubled identities and histories if we are to decolonise ourselves and our universities.
This paper considers the use of contemporary popular waiata in promulgating a Māori worldview by expressing cultural identity and belonging. Waiata are a traditional medium, a practice through which Māori knowledge, histories, culture and language continue to be passed down from one generation to another (Ka‘ai-Mahuta, 2010; McLean, 1996; Orbell, 1991; Smith, 2003). Similarities can be observed between traditional and contemporary waiata, in that messages are delivered through musical, melodic, rhythmic and harmonic motifs that are distinctively Māori.