Karyn's research interests are in a number of areas that intersect at various points. These are: sociological issues surrounding Māori urbanisation and Māori identity development and maintenance; Māori performing arts, particularly poi, the analysis of haka and waiata compositions and the role kapa haka plays in identity; grammatical aspects of the Māori language and second language acquisition; Māori language and Māori performing arts teaching methodologies.
She is a co-director of an Otago Research Theme, Poutama Ara Rau, alongside Professor Jacinta Ruru (Faculty of Law) and Associate Professor Suzanne Pitama (Christchurch Medical School). The aim of Poutama Ara Rau is to research how Māori knowledge and teaching and learning pedagogies can transform tertiary teaching to enhance student success.
This summer internship project will identify occasions where haka, waiata and other oral art forms were commonly used as a form of expression, the frequency in which these occasions occurred and the purpose of these expressions for each situation. Each of these occasions employed a particular style of oral art form. In addition to collating information of the occasions in which they were used, this project will also identify the type of expression, its form and linguistic features, the style of its performance, the social dynamics of engagement, as well as highlighting any tribal distinctiveness, where applicable.