Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Part of The Whānau: The Emergence of Takatāpui Identity - He Whāriki Takatāpui

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posted on 2021-11-22, 10:29 authored by Kerekere, Elizabeth

Since the early 1980s, Māori who are whakawāhine, tangata ira tāne, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex or queer have increasingly adopted the identity of ‘takatāpui’ - a traditional Māori term meaning ‘intimate companion of the same sex.’ As the first study on takatāpui identity and well-being, this is fashioned as a Whāriki Takatāpui; a woven mat which lays the foundation for future research and advocacy. Kaupapa Māori research provides the tools for this task while Kaupapa Māori theory ensures the harvest of Māori narratives is underpinned by te reo, tikanga and mātauranga - Māori language, culture and knowledges. The preparation of weaving materials is represented by Mana Wāhine; which considers whakapapa (genealogy), intersectional colonial oppression with an artistic approach to analysing whakataukī (historical metaphor). Mana Motuhake represents the design of the Whāriki; the colours and patterns emanating from the subjective experiences of six leaders who have embraced a takatāpui identity. Te Whare Tapa Whā represents weaving together takatāpui health and well-being in response to the issues and discrimination they face. Oral history interviews were held with takatāpui participants who reflected a diversity of iwi, geographical location, gender identities and sexualities and, at the time of interview, ranged from 17 to 68 years of age. In order to gain insight into the perception of whānau with takatāpui members, semi structured interviews were also held with two kuia (female elders) and 12 whānau members of the takatāpui rangatahi (young people) interviewed. In total 27 participants were interviewed in three stages over four years. Their responses were recorded, transcribed then analysed based on the elements of the Whāriki Takatāpui framework. Despite colonial efforts to remove historical trace, this study reveals new evidence of takatāpui behaviour within traditional Māori narratives. It finds that takatāpui identity is predicated on Māori identity with a spiritual connection to takatāpui tūpuna (ancestors) that is crucial in addressing the discrimination they may face within their whānau and culture. It identifies the range of issues that impact on takatāpui health and well-being while highlighting the creative and strength-based manner in which takatāpui build resilience and connection through identity.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Maori Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970120 Expanding Knowledge in Languages, Communication and Culture

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Maori Studies : Te Kawa a Māui


Mercier, Ocean; Higgins, Rawinia