November 08, 2018
Whānau vs the state for research project
A new study will look at how Māori have pushed back against state intervention to protect whānau well being.
University of Auckland historian Aroha Harris and independent historian Melissa Williams have won a $622,000 Marsden grant to to explore how Māori held onto their aspirations for whānau ora while engaging with, and against, the twentieth century welfare state.
Dr Harris says it’s a chance to challenge conventional narratives of Māori as victims or resistant recipients of state services.
"No matter how difficult things have got over the decades Māori have done what we have been able to to preserve Māori ways of being and doing and that is the area we want to look at. Sometimes the things Māori whānau get up to aren't always tied to the state, even when the state is at its most heavy handed," she says.
Dr Harris says they intend to focus on the stories of the women, children and their families who directly faced Māori welfare policies, combining oral histories with archival research into the roles of Māori nurses and welfare reformists like the Māori Women’s Welfare League.
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