Ngā Rangahau | Our research

Our projects

  • Te Wehi Nui a Mamao
    A research based project that has resulted in innovative ways of capturing Māori heritage and narratives in two websites, TeWehinui.com and Maorimaps.com. The sites serve hapū and school communities and are of interest to those working in planning, resource management, history and education. Visit: http://tewehinui.com/
  • Māori Maps
    Māori Maps is a web portal to the marae of Aotearoa New Zealand. The site provides map location and directions to the gateway of ancestral marae in Aotearoa, along with photographs, information and tāonga links, providing a digital gateway by which visitors can engage with marae communities. Visit: www.maorimaps.com
  • Te Ara: Māori Pathways of Leadership
    This highly successful photographic exhibition on Māori leadership was developed out of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, New Zealand (FoRST) funded Te Wehi Nui project. The exhibition showcases photographs by renowned photographer Krzysztof Pfeiffer. It has travelled to Poland (in 2010 to Olsztyn, Warsaw and Krakow), the United Kingdom (in 2011 and 2012 to Oxford, Durham, and Leicester), to Germany (in September 2012 to Hamburg) and to Canada (in 2013 to Vancouver). In 2014, the exhibition returned home to Aotearoa New Zealand and is currently on display at the Rotorua Museum. The two editions of the accompanying book were in Polish, German, Māori, English and now in Musqueam (First Nations People of Vancouver, Canada).
  • Whānau Ora
    Dr Krushil Wātene is leading the Whānau Ora Action Research Project. She has undertaken all of the action research, working with and alongside Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei service providers and whānau. The aim of this research is to understand how agencies and providers most usefully contribute to best outcomes for whānau. In other words, the primary aim of this research is to determine how (and which) service provider processes and arrangements best contribute to whānau achieving whānau ora.

    The Whānau Ora project is wrapping up with Te Puni Kōkiri providing further funding for a summer research internship scholarship. This has been awarded to Esther Maihi of Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei, who will complete a research internship with the Centre in January and February of 2015.
  • Whai Maia: Capturing Potential Research Project.
    On behalf of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Whai Maia (the tribal development arm of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei) is undertaking a census to understand the current needs and future aspirations of whānau. The census is more than a population count. It provides Ngāti Whātua with social, economic and demographic information that is essential for making decisions regarding all policy development and the services they will provide to the Ngāti Whātua whānau.

    The project is a collaborative team led by the James Henare Māori Research Centre’s Director (Research), Associate Professor Merata Kawharu, Research Fellow, Dr Krushil Watene and Graduate Researcher, Raaniera Te Whata alongside the University’s COMPASS (Centre of Methods and Policy Application in Social Sciences), Whai Maia, and a Whai Maia whānau advisory group.

    This one year project work has involved extensive community engagement in the first phase which designed the census. The second phase saw the census being sent out to over 2000 descendants. The project is currently in the third phase undertaking the write up of this project. On completion, the written report will be made available to those who completed the census.

    The survey covered culture and language, education, employment, housing, standard of living and health issues. Preliminary results indicate that the findings will provide a snapshot of the current needs and aspirations of whānau and will provide insights for hapū policy design and implementation. 

    The census project was the first of its kind in scope and in reach. It provided an excellent case for developing and hapū/iwi-focused methodology, process and model for application amongst other hapu and iwi. We hope to be able to transfer these learnings in the near future. The project was the first iwi-funded project undertaken by the Centre.
  • Waka Wairua
    Waka Wairua research got underway earlier last year, unearthing an exciting depth of oral narratives and archival material previously hidden from general access. These whakapapa-structured stories link first contact waka explorers and entrepreneurs to tribally important landscapes, while also meaningfully connecting Māori to their Pacific origins. The goal is to now use technology to enable a new generation of mostly urban-raised Māori to re-establish their links to, and knowledge of, te mātauranga of their home communities. The narratives enliven ancestral landscapes and provide another layer of meaning about heritage, place, people and identity. So far, research has been undertaken concerning stories relating to Kaipara, Hokianga, Waimate/Taiamai, Tokerau, Muriwhenua, Moehau, Rotorua and Taupo regions.

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

    This project has continued well throughout 2014 with interviews being conducted in Taitokerau, Hauraki, Maungatautari, Ōtaki and Rarotonga, all looking at ancient ancestral kōrero relating to Raiatea, Taputapuātea, the entrepreneurial voyaging navigators and narratives about waka and associated places of significance in Aotearoa and overseas. Most of the narrative gathering work of the two year project has been completed, with the website http://www.maraeatea.com/ and Raaniera Te Whata’s Master’s thesis being the ongoing work in 2015. We would like to include more Taitokerau kōrero and will look to include this over the next 6 months.