December 17, 2015
Traits of Maori resilience identified
A recent Massey doctoral graduate says cultural identity can be a great help in helping Maori deal with the shocks life throws at them.
Jordan Waiti did his thesis on the notion of resilience, interviewing whanau around the country who had to deal with shocks such as suicide, long term illness, imprisonment or job loss.
He drew on research done among Norway’s Saami indigenous people, which he says can be widely applied to all families.
"He sort of broke family resiliance into networks and relationships, so whanaungatanga, skills and abilities to pukenga, and values, beliefs and meanings which I ascribed to tikanga, but a point of difference I found talking with our Maori whanau was the importance of cultural identity to help them foster resiliance when they were faced with strife and adversity," Dr Waiti says.
He says Maori have made the maintenance of cultural identity a critical aspiration since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, leading them to resist government policies of assimilation.
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