Horizons of Insight Seminar - September 2012

Professor Ngahuia Te Awekotuku and Associate Professor Linda Waimarie Nikora lead the Tangi Research Programme at the University of Waikato. The researchers are committed to studying tangi, conscious of the belief that such work in itself carries the inherent risk of "karanga aitua" or calling down misfortune by drawing attention to it. Contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand is constantly influenced by tangi practice, through the popular media and through personal exposure; elements of tangi engage people every day.

This volatile subject requires careful and comprehensive scrutiny, to extend and enrich the knowledge base, to reveal the logic guiding ritual, and to inform the wider New Zealand community. More importantly, the study intends to record and support the cultural, social, ritual, economic and decision-making processes of bereaved whānau, marae, and iwi communities.

The researchers engage a number of strategies to explore the institution of tangi but all situate them as critical researchers, community members and participants within the tangi process. Too often the experience of the researcher, our lived experiences of the very topics, issues, communities and cultures we investigate, are ignored in favour of the “informant”. In this seminar, the presenters will talk about how they position themselves centrally in the research frame and place value on their experience, making it a topic of investigation in its own right.

Professor Ngahuia Te Awekotuku is Professor of Research at the School of Māori & Pacific Development, at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Associate Professor Linda Waimarie Nikora is the Director of the Māori & Psychology Research Unit at the University of Waikato.