• Chantel Matthews

Research Design FA


I am your past in present 'mana' (form)

Art in retrospect

Research Questions


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.


Key Words

1. Mana Wahine

2. Rongo (sense)

3. Wairua (essence)


Descriptions

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

(2010), 260.

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,

2010), 267


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


Aims

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

qualities.


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

mana wahine.


Methodologies

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

colonisation.5


It is connecting and collaborating with like-minded thinkers that support creative practice and

critical thinking, including mana wahine, wananga, academic writings, theorists, philosophers,

and artists.


4 ibid

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.


Research Methods.


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.



Bibliography

Mika, C. Stewart, G. “Lost in translation: western representations of Māori knowledge, Open

Review of Educational Research.” (2017) 14. 4:1, 134-146, DOI:

10.1080/23265507.2017.1364143

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.

http://www.maramatanga.co.nz/sites/default/files/TC-2008.pdf

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

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