Tuākana/Tēina: Relational Responsibilities of Pacific Tauiwi to Māori and Te Tiriti o Waitangi
This thesis aims to fill a gap in literature concerning relationships between Pacific tauiwi and Māori in Aotearoa, and further, our engagements with Te Tiriti o Waitangi as tauiwi. Research on Māori and Pacific relationships regularly focuses on the negative statistics we often find ourselves lumped together under (i.e. education; health; poverty; crime). As a result, the research tends to look at how we can be helped, not at how we can help ourselves and each other. Te Tiriti-tauiwi research, on the other hand, often looks at Pākehā and other tauiwi from outside of the Pacific region and their roles in honouring Te Tiriti. Consequently, it does not look at the role of Pacific tauiwi. Though more attention has been paid to tauiwi and Te Tiriti in recent years, through the work of groups like Tauiwi mō Matike Mai Aotearoa and Asians Supporting Tino Rangatiratanga, there has not been enough focused attention on the role of Pacific peoples, both as one that is separate to Māori and also as one that is distinct from other tauiwi. Recognizing these gaps, this thesis examines the complexities of Pacific-Māori relationships in Aotearoa in order to propose strategies of engagement Pacific (non-Māori) tauiwi can use with regard to Te Tiriti and navigating Pacific-Māori relational space.
Integrating thoughts and perspectives from existing literature and from talanoa with Māori and Pacific participants, this thesis explores our relationships with one another and the histories that have shaped them. Responding to previous literature, this thesis provides a thorough analysis of our relationships from Pacific and Māori lenses. Additionally, because this thesis is concerned with the role of Pacific tauiwi, there is careful consideration of the Pacific lived experience in Aotearoa, particularly in the last fifty years. While the goal of this thesis is to centralise our relationships with each other, the role of the Crown and the distinct relationships that Māori and Pacific peoples have with the New Zealand government, as tangata whenua and migrants respectively, cannot be ignored and will therefore be part of the analysis. After a thorough analysis, the thesis turns its attention to Pacific-Māori relationships as understood through a tuākana-tēina framework shaped by my own Cook Islands Māori heritage and Aotearoa Māori cultural understandings. It concludes that returning to a relationship based on the values and principles of tuākana and tēina can serve as an invaluable strategy for engagement with Te Tiriti and with Māori.