Mana Tinana, Mana Mōmona, Mana Wāhine: Ngā Pūrākau o Ngā Tinana Body Sovereignty and Fat Māori Wāhine

Pae Tawhiti

Pātai Puāwai

PhD Candidate: Ashlea Gillon (Ngāti Awa, Ngāpuhi, Ngāiterangi)

Primary Supervisor(s): Professor Tracey McIntosh

How do fat Indigenous wāhine experience and enact body sovereignty (as resistance) within systems of oppression? AKA What does body sovereignty mean to you?

Fat Indigenous wāhine and our bodies are subject to multiple forms of discrimination. The ways in which fat Māori wāhine are re-presented as un(deserving), (un)well, (dis)eased, and (un)(re)liable perpetuate how (in)access is enabled for some groups and not others. Biopower and biopolitics maintain these systems of oppression by (over)/(under)surveilling, policing, and (re)inscribing bodies with expectations that are racialised, sexualized, and body sizest. This means that anything that does not conform to the upper end of the hierarchy is labelled deviant and treated as such. While coloniality unduly influences and shapes ‘normative’ meanings of bodies in everyday contexts, Mātauranga Māori conceptualisations of the body and fatness remain inscribed within te reo Māori and our Indigenous whanaungatanga with Papatūānuku, Hinemoana, and Hine-Nui-Te-Pō. These wisdoms provide alternative narratives to colonial systems’ (mis)interpretations of fat bodies. Recognising Indigenous sovereignty, tino rangatiratanga, mana (tinana/motuhake) are important in resistance in this re-conceptualisation and re-prioritisation of access and rights.

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