Waka Wairua: Landscape heritage and the creative potential of Māori communities

Project Duration from:: 
2012 to 2015

This research will unravel heritage threads and leadership principles that connect New Zealand and Polynesia. It will explore narratives relating to entrepreneurial leaders, including the early navigators who travelled between Tahiti, Rarotonga and New Zealand.

The project will also examine outstanding Māori heritage landscapes in New Zealand and their creative potential. This project aims to acquire and collate orally-held knowledge from community leaders from across New Zealand and the Pacific (Tahiti and Rarotonga), which will then be made available in an online form.

The cultural knowledge to feature on this site is not published, and there is no written account of the varied Polynesian narratives and perspectives in any collaborated form. Some accounts (for example, New Zealand Māori stories of Kupe) are published, but others on the same ancestor from other Polynesian perspectives, are not. The researchers will bring together these different and similar threads of narrative in the one place. This research will raise understanding within communities of their own heritage and the potential contribution of this heritage for transformation and positive change in these communities.


Associate Professor Merata Kawharu
Professor Paul Tapsell
Mike Hennessy
Te Kenehi Teira
Hirini Tane


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