AlterNative Volume 11 Issue 1

Published: 
2015

The latest issue of AlterNative Volume 11 (1) is now available online and in print. It has a special focus on indigenous peoples’ issues in Aotearoa New Zealand. Two of the five articles reflect on Māori ways of being. The lead article by Carl Mika entitled: “Thereness”: Implications of Heidegger’s “presence” for Māori discusses the philosophical consequences of colonization through the lens of Martin Heidegger’s “metaphysics of presence”. Mika explores the differences between Western and indigenous metaphysics and suggests a “counter-colonial poetics”,  a destabilizing force of the metaphysics of presence, which values mystery and absence and opens up possibilities for thought for the Māori writer in the academy.

Similarly, Pita King, Darrin Hodgetts, Mohi Rua and Tiniwai Te Whetu in “Older men gardening on the marae: Everyday practices for being Māori,” reflect on Māori ways of being as extending beyond physical existence, recognizing that things are also constituted by relationships between people, as well as with the natural and the spiritual world. Their article explores how, through gardening and other everyday practices at an Auckland marae (communal complex used for everyday Māori life), a group of older homeless Māori men find respite from the stresses of life on the streets. King et al. argue that spaces like the marae and everyday socio-cultural practices, like gardening, provide ways of addressing issues of homelessness through re-engaging with Māori ways of being. 

Lynne Stuart and Don Gorman report on a study in which they documented the experiences of indigenous health workers enrolled in a Bachelor of Nursing at a regional Australian University. Their article provides a number of recommendations to reduce the barriers to success and improve the experience of university education of indigenous Australians.

Two further articles deal with the potential that social media offers to indigenous development. Joanne Waitoa, Regina Sheyvens and Te Rina Warren in “E-whanaungatanga: The role of social media in Māori political engagement,” investigates if social media can encourage Māori political awareness and participation. The authors use the Mana Party Facebook site as their case study and present an empowerment model to evaluate the empowerment opportunities of social media initiatives which influence awareness and mobilization of disenfranchised groups, as was the case in the “Twitter revolutions” in the Middle East and the #IdleNoMore campaign in Canada. They conclude that social media has the capacity to increase awareness and participation but is most effective alongside offline action.

In a similar vein, Te Taka Keegan, Paora Mato and Stacey Ruru’s article “Using Twitter in an Indigenous Language: An analysis of te reo Māori tweets” explores if social networking is being used by indigenous-language communities and if social media platforms such as Twitter promote language revitalization efforts. Keegan et al. share their findings from a study that analyzed Twitter statistics collated by the Indigenous Tweets website, focussing on tweets and tweeters in te reo Māori (Māori language). Their findings show that Twitter has the potential to support indigenous-language-conversation but that language revitalization as a positive outcome of using the online platform depends on the indigenous language communities themselves. 

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