Research Design FA
I am your past in present 'mana' (form)
Art in retrospect
My practice seeks to explore how mana wahine from a Te ao Māori perspective can contribute
to ideas and concepts within my art making process.
Te ao Māori acknowledges interconnectedness and interrelationships with all living and nonliving.
I am interested in how these notions can inform and be informed within my art practice.
1. Mana Wahine
2. Rongo (sense)
3. Wairua (essence)
There are two critical components of the term 'Mana Wahine' these being; the concepts
'Mana' and 'Wahine.' Rangimarie Turuki Pere maintains that mana is fundamentally
beyond translation. It is multi-dimensional and relates to notions that she describes as
a psychic influence, control, prestige, power, vested and acquired authority and
influence, being influential or binding over others and that quality of the person that
others know she or he has!1
Leonie Pihama continues “Conceptually we can see wahine as being the intersection of the two
words; wa and hine. Wa relates to notions of time and space, hine relates to a female essence”:2
The source from which tohu might be initiated and conveyed is external to the human
body and the ngākau (heart) of the receiver. There are various ways that tohu are
perceived by the ngākau. The head and roro (brain) are particularly sacred and
important for tohu perceived by smell, sight, hearing or other sense occurring around
the head of an individual. The transfer of tohu to the ngākau of the human body is
termed rongo (hear, sense) or whakarongo (listen, sense).3
1 Pihama, Leonie, Tihei Mauri Ora: Honouring Our Voices. Mana Wahine as a Kaupapa Maori Theoretical Framework
2 Pihama, Leonie, 261
3 Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, Proceedings of the TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE CONFERENCE 2008 TE TATAU
POUNAMU: THE GREENSTONE DOOR Traditional Knowledge and Gateways to Balanced Relationships (PRINTSTOP,
Knowledge might also be perceived through the wairua (spirit) of a person and internal
visioning. The wairua of a person is said to travel during sleep and has the ability to gather
knowledge during this activity.4
The aim is to create sculptural objects where ideas and concepts explore mana wahine, Te ao
Māori perspective, which contributes to the art-making process.
To curate at a wairua level, sculptural moments through its material, conceptual and formal
To realise a platform to foster, promote, and shape Māori women as self-defining. Through
critical discourse, in particular, knowledge sharing, and unpacking discourse associated with
Through the process of assessing potential artworks, researching materials that are less harmful
to the environment, and have a minimal material impact considering the concept of
interconnectedness with all living and non-living things.
Creative sessions with women on self-defining practices through knowledge sharing and
unpacking discourse associated with mana wahine context.
Exploration of rongo and mana wairua practice through researching Te ao Māori world views
to develop an understanding of how these concepts can inform moments of art-making.
Mana Wairua deals with our mental and spiritual well-being, the two waters of balance
between negative and positive epitomised in a sense of belief in something greater than
humanity. The destruction of Mana Wairua was a prerequisite to successful
It is connecting and collaborating with like-minded thinkers that support creative practice and
critical thinking, including mana wahine, wananga, academic writings, theorists, philosophers,
5 Pihama L et al., "Mana Wahine Reader, A Collection of Writings 1987-1998." Te Kotahi Research Institute. The University of Waikato, Vol. 1 (2019): 128.
Ensemble: Using morning pages as a method of gathering research, i.e., images, writing,
conversations, interactions, moments with the living and non-living will inform the potential
making of artworks. Conscious of making that may impact the environment with the notions
of interconnectedness with all living and non-living things.
A platform to foster, promote, and shape Māori women in particular but not limited to selfdefining
practices. Through kai korero sessions with knowledge sharing and unpacking
discourse associated with mana wahine. These kai korero sessions I envisage would be open
to all women that would be interested in this discourse.
Through doing, as an intuitive act using Te ao Māori concepts, rongo, and wairua, as a
methodology, formed criteria and methods will inform the practice. These moments and
experiences on reflection deem potential art-making. Envisage this being random or impulsive
happenings ie, swimming in the sea or through meditation and alike, being present within these
spaces, then working through how these can become potential works.
Collaboration and connection, through kai korero and wananga with like-minded thinkers that
support creative practice and critical thinking. These connections may include friends, peers,
and related circles, other artists in various mediums, Māori wananga, events, and talks that may
situate themselves within a Te ao Māori or creative practice setting.
Mika, C. Stewart, G. “Lost in translation: western representations of Māori knowledge, Open
Review of Educational Research.” (2017) 14. 4:1, 134-146, DOI:
Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga. “Proceedings of the TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE
CONFERENCE 2008 TE TATAU POUNAMU: THE GREENSTONE DOOR Traditional
Knowledge and Gateways to Balanced Relationships” (2010):267.
Pihama, L. “Tihei Mauri Ora: Honouring Our Voices. Mana Wahine as a Kaupapa Maori
Theoretical Framework.” (2001). 260-261. http://www.tutamawahine.org.nz/tihea_mauri_ora.
Pihama, Leonie, Tihei Mauri Ora: Honouring Our Voices. Mana Wahine as a Kaupapa Maori
Theoretical Framework (2010), 260.
Pihama L, Tuhiwai-Smith L, Simmond N, Seed-Pihama J, Gabel K. "Mana Wahine Reader, A
Collection of Writings 1987-1998." Te Kotahi Research Institute. The University of Waikato,
Vol 1 (2019): 128.
Smith, Tākirirangi. “HE ARA URU ORA: Traditional Māori understandings of trauma and
well-being, Te Atawhai o Te Ao: Independent Māori Institute for Environment & Health.”
(2019) 8. http://www.teatawhai.maori.nz/publications/resource-reports/item/he-ara-uru-oratraditional-maori-understandings-of-trauma-and-well-being