This article explores the use of an intersecting methodology termed Te Kupenga as a philosophical approach to gathering, interpreting, and storing mātauranga wahine. The research aimed to understand the ways of being and doing of physically active wāhine Māori and relate them to characteristics of atua wāhine. A kupenga is a type of open weave net used for fishing or gathering food. In this research, it represents the weaving together of three approaches: Whakapapa, Mana Wahine theory, and physical activity.
Connection to land through whakapapa is premised on mana inherited at birth from the atua. These fundamental principles have supported land claims in the Native Land Court since 1865 and were of importance to Ngāti Kahungunu women in the late 19th century. Yet, exactly how whakapapa and mana informed cases for wāhine Māori has been difficult to examine, due to the omnipresent patriarchal workings of the Native Land Court and its comprehension of customary principles.
This article has been inspired by doctoral research that focused on the pathway to leadership for wāhine Māori. For the purpose of the study, a mana wahine theoretical framework was created to analyse the lived experiences and character of several Māori women leaders. Known in the study as the Moko Wahine framework, it is embedded in Māori cultural values. A key aspect of the Moko Wahine framework is the potential to strengthen the Indigenous identity of women leaders who are of Māori descent.
In Aotearoa New Zealand, the largest growing cohort of Māori engaging in tertiary education at degree level is mature Māori women. For most Māori beginning university there are considerable challenges to achieving a university-level education and qualification. This paper reports on a study that used Kaupapa Māori and Mana Wāhine research approaches to give voice to five mature Māori women who shared aspects of their first year at university, highlighting the cultural dissonance they experienced and how they overcame the challenges they faced as students.
Ngā Pou Wāhine is a culturally embedded mana wāhine framework that addresses the complexity of Māori women’s gambling experiences, and provides an empowering process for behavioural change to regain their power and status. A key element of Ngā Pou Wāhine is the potential to encapsulate and endorse women’s stories by drawing on te ao Māori to facilitate analyses of Māori women’s gambling and their need to gamble. The theoretical framework of Ngā Pou Wāhine is based on well- known Māori artist Robyn Kahukiwa’s “Ngā Pou Wāhine” series.