25 July 2012
Venue: Room 802 (Anthropology Tea Room), Human Sciences Building (Building 201)
Host: Mere Roberts and Brad Haami
Among Maori whakapapa when applied to humans act as a mnemonic for the recording and transmission of knowledge concerning cosmogonical and historical ancestries and relationships within and among iwi. When extended to the rest of the phenomenological world, the functionality of whakapapa expands to include scientific knowledge of natural resources within a place (habitat or ecosystem) as well as acting as a ‘folk taxonomy’ or classification of specific resources. These whakapapa (or ‘tatai taiao’) may possess multiple ancestries and descent lines (ontologies) grounded in one or more of the environmental realms comprising Tane, Tangaroa, Rongo, Haumia-tike-tike, Tawhirimatea and Ruaumoko. Various whakapapa of plants and animals of traditional importance to Maori will be used to illustrate the above theories upon which the authors research is based.
Mere Roberts (Ngati HIkairo, Ngati Apakura) has a Ph.D in Zoology and lectured in the Schools of Medicine, Environmental & Marine Science ad Biological Sciences before moving to Te Whare Wananga o Awauiarangi in 2004 as Head of Science. She is currently an honorary research fellow in Anthropology. Her research interests are in indigenous knowledges and their interface with western science.
Brad Haami (Ngati Awa, Ngati Kahungunu, Ngai Tahu) is a film and television producer, director and script writer. He has also authored several books and during his tenure as the first Michael King Maori writer in residence in 2011 completed a manuscript on Maori traditional knowledge of whales. His research interests span all aspects of matauranga Maori.