Reflecting the success of Māori in postgraduate study

Purakau or traditional storytelling practices are at the heart of a new book designed to help inspire more ākonga Māori (learners) towards postgraduate education.

indauto authors

Indigenous Autoethnography: illuminating Māori voices is edited by Capable NZ’s Kelli Te Maihāroa (Waitaha tūturu, Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa, Taranaki, Ngāti Maniapoto) and Adrian Woodhouse (Kai Tāhu) of Otago Polytechnic.

It features accounts by nine postgraduate ākonga of personal, educational, career and spiritual journeys through struggles and successes from their own individual and cultural perspectives.

“Indigenous Autoethnography is an insider research methodology. The individual analyses their professional and personal experiences through self-reflection drawing on indigenous ways of knowing and being,” says Assoc Prof Woodhouse.

“This work is about helping to decolonise the academic space. Recognising if you are Māori you are working within Western structures. The processes (of which) are not necessarily normal to you. The book is part of reclaiming that space and opening it up,” says Mr Woodhouse.

“We see this book as something to dip into and read, so people can see themselves in the pages, to reframe our ways of knowing and being, to reclaim the spaces where indigenous voices have been marginalised through silence” says Assoc Prof Kelli Te Maihāroa.

“The number of Māori entering post graduate studies is increasing rapidly, and here, we are celebrating their achievements,” Ms Te Maihāroa says.

“The importance of highlighting and celebrating academic success for Māori students is a vital component of the equity work required for ākonga Māori at tertiary level. Indigenous autoethnographies helps support this kaupapa,” says Scott Klenner, Director Rakahau Māori and Postgraduate Studies, Otago Polytechnic.

While ākonga featured come from different parts of the country and work in fields ranging from IT education to addiction services; they all have undertaken study towards master’s or doctoral qualifications with Capable NZ.

Capable NZ is a division of Otago Polytechnic delivering postgraduate degree-level qualifications through a blend of recognition of prior learning, assessed workplace projects and integration of new learning into practice.

“Postgraduate learners draw on their lived personal and professional experiences, where they are positioned as the rangatira or expert in their field, and the mentors help facilitate their learning process to create new knowledge in their field or work-based practice” says Ms Te Maihāroa

Indigenous Autoethnography: illuminating Māori voices is the second publication co-edited by the pair focusing on the experiences of this specific cohort of indigenous learners.

The first, Our Sacred Māori Voices was published in late 2022 by Otago Polytechnic Press.

Published on 26 Jun 2024