Dr Marama Muru-Lanning

Waikato Tainui, Ngāti Maniapoto
PhD (Auckland), MA Hons. (Auckland), BA (Auckland), DipTchg (Waikato)
Associate Professor and Director of the James Henare Māori Research Centre
Email: m.murulanning@auckland.ac.nz
Phone: (09) 373 7599 ext 85743
Location: Room 5, Building 225, 18 Wynyard Street, City Campus

Dr Marama Muru-Lanning's staff profile

My research is primarily concerned with debates and critical challenges in social anthropology where I focus on the cultural specificity of iwi-Māori and their unique sense of place and belonging in Aotearoa. Over the past five years I have also developed a passion and new approaches and methods for researching kaumatua wellbeing.

My professional expertise includes:

  • environmental anthropology
  • Treaty Settlements
  • commodification and privatisation
  • kaumātua mauri ora and hauora
  • knowledge production and interdisciplinary research
  • Chilean intercultural politics

What distinguishes me internationally as a social scientist is my specialisation in four interrelated areas of research:

  • Water
  • Human-environment relationships
  • Mātauranga
  • Indigenous knowledge

Research interests

Marama's research focuses on the governance, commodification and privatisation of fresh water in New Zealand. Her work is primarily concerned with issues and debates in applied, environmental and indigenous anthropology. Marama's PhD in 2010 explored the role of language and discourse in creating new Māori power brokers for the Waikato River. Her study investigated the relationship between three groups of river stakeholders (Waikato-Tainui, the Crown and Mighty River Power Ltd) and the rival discourses that these groups use to stake claims as guardians and custodians in the Waikato River. Marama's research publications reflect her fascination with freshwater property rights as well as my interest in Māori and indigenous knowledge production.

Research publications

Journal articles
Muru-Lanning, Marama. 2012. Māori research collaborations, mātauranga Māori science and the appropriation of water in New Zealand. Anthropological Forum: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Comparative Sociology, 22 (2):151-164.

Muru-Lanning, Marama. 2012. The key actors of Waikato River co-governance: Situational analysis at work. AlterNative:An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, 8 (2): 128-136.
Muru-Lanning, Marama. 2011. The analogous boundaries of Ngāti Mahuta, Waikato- Tainui and Kiingitanga. The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 120 (1):9-42.

Muru-Lanning, Marama. 2009. River ownership: Inalienable taonga and impartible tupuna awa. Sites: A Journal of Social Anthropology & Cultural Studies, 6 (2):32-56.
Muru-Lanning, Marama. 2007. Tupuna awa and sustainable resource: Knowledge systems of the Waikato River. Mai Review, 1(1).

Muru-Lanning, Marama 2005. The Waikato River and electricity companies: Besides electricity what else is generated? Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Monograph Series: Tihei Oreore, 1(1):109-124.

Muru-Lanning, Marama. 2001. The significance of kaitaka and kahukiwi in Waikato- Tainui tribal self-determination: A study of Kingitanga adornment and self- decoration. Waikato University College Journal: Te Taarere aa Tawhaki, 1(1):58-62.

Contributions to edited volumes

Turongo House with Dixon, Kirkwood, Muru-Lanning, Simon, White et al, 2011. Toku Turangawaewae: Our Stories Celebrating 90 Years. Turangawaewae Trust Board 2012:7-91.

Reviews in refereed journals

Muru-Lanning, Marama. 2011. Tuamaka: The Challenge of Difference in Aotearoa-New
Zealand, by Joan Metge. In The Journal of the Polynesian Society, Vol. 122(3):299-300.

Papers in refereed conference proceedings

Muru-Lanning, Marama and Kepa, Mere. 2012. Developing research in matauranga te mate Māori, Ngā pae o te Māramatanga Conference Proceedings 2012:154-160.

Completed theses

Muru-Lanning, Marama. 2010. Tupuna Awa and Te Awa Tupuna: An Anthropological Study of Competing Discourses and Claims of Ownership to the Waikato River. Unpublished PhD thesis, The University of Auckland.
Muru-Lanning, Marama. 2001. The Significance of Kaitaka and Kahukiwi in Waikato- Tainui Tribal Self-Determination: A study of Kingitanga Adornment and Self- decoration. Unpublished MA thesis, The University of Auckland.

Popular media

Radio NZ, interviewed on afternoon New Zealand Society Programme, 2012.
BFM Radio, interviewed on The Wire, 2012.
TV3, Panellist for four Think Tank Programmes, 2011/13.
Feature article and cover for Ingenio Magazine: The University of Auckland Alumni Magazine - Autumn 2013 “The Power of Water: Rights and Interests in the Waikato River,” 2013.

Invited lectures

Privatizing Electricity Generating Assets on the Waikato River: Intergenerational Investment or Selling our Tupuna? Rethinking Kinship and Economy in Contemporary Oceania Moral Economies Workshop ANU, Canberra September 2012.
Māori and the Privatisation of State Owned Assets. The Ports of Auckland: Tāmaki Science Forum, Auckland, October 2011.
He Piko he Taniwha, He Piko he Taniwha: Tensions and Internal Conflicts between Māori Power Brokers of the Waikato River. School of Social Sciences Seminar Series, Waikato University, September 2011.

Conference papers

Muru-Lanning, M. (2012). Researching your own: Māori scholarship post-treaty settlement. In Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga International Indigenous Development Research. Auckland, New Zealand.
Muru-Lanning, M. Kepa (2012). Mātauranga te mate Māori. In Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga International Indigenous Development Research. Auckland, New Zealand.
Muru-Lanning, M (2012) Brokering Māori indigenous identity: The transformation of racial and ethnic boundaries. In American Anthropology Association Executive Panel: Remediating Cartographies of Erasure. San Francisco, USA
Muru-Lanning, M. (2011). Māori research collaborations, matauranga Māori science and the appropriation of water in New Zealand. In Knowledge and Value in a Globalising World: Disentangling Dichotomies, Querying Unities. Perth, Australia.
Muru-Lanning, M. (2011). Privatising Mighty River Power and Genesis. In He Piko he Taniwha He Piko he Taniwha Water Symposium. Karapiro, New Zealand.
Muru-Lanning, M. (2010). Ownership Claims to the Waikato River. In Tangaroa ki uta, Tangaroa ki tai: Water, Our Future Symposium, Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (The Maori Centre of Research Excellence) and co-hosted with Ngai Tahu iwi. Christchurch, New Zealand.
Muru-Lanning, M. (2008). Discourses of the Waikato River. In Ownership and Appropriation Conference: A Joint International Conference of the ASA, the ASAANZ and the AAS. Auckland, New Zealand.