This article explores the relevance of historical trauma theory for Māori research. In exploring the impact of historical trauma upon Māori it has become clear that the terminology associated with historical trauma theory is considered controversial in Aotearoa New Zealand. As such, this article provides an overview of key definitions relevant to historical trauma and explores these in relation to recent reporting related to the use of the terms “holocaust” and “genocide” in the context of colonization in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The vision statement of Te Reo o Taranaki, “Tuku reo, tuku mouri: language, culture, crossing generations”, embodies the essence of an understanding of mouri which goes beyond the simple dictionary translations of “life force” or “life essence”. Indeed, there are numerous oral narratives—whakataukī (proverbs), waiata (songs), haka (dance), karanga (ceremonial call), whaikōrero (formal speech), karakia (prayers and incantations)—from the present day to our earliest records of Māori history that engage the notion of mouri.
This paper explores the epistemological divide between mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) and science, and considers which cultural concepts have relevance when considering the use of embryos in research. We argue that empowerment is a necessary precursor for a dialogue process to be effective and to maintain the cultural dignity and confidence of the participants. Negotiating spaces to share ideas, concepts and values between different knowledge systems is an important exercise that creates opportunities for innovative thinking.
There is a general acceptance of the view that today—in the early part of the 21st century— Māori people experience diverse realities and live complicated lives that interact with or are formed out of a set of material, cultural, historical and discursive conditions, understood in its short form as colonisation. Diversity of realities does not mean equal realities in the sense of cultural, social and economic equity.