University of Waikato
This paper in its
original form was written as an assignment for a Psychology Department,
University of Waikato, graduate paper, Kaupapa Māori
and Psychology, co-ordinated by Linda Waimarie
Nikora. The set question is included because it establishes
both the audience and the context the paper was
written. Because this paper challenges an incompleteness noted of
other authorities, it invites response in a similar vein.
Whanaungatanga has taken on a new meaning in the modern milieu. It
is sometimes seen as a process of getting to know each other (whakawhanaungatanga).
Sometimes it is used as the foundation of a selection interview (whanau
interviews). It is sometimes used to describe the camaraderie between
fellow rugby players, or to describe the ‘glue’ that connects people
to each other. Sometimes it is held up as the essential component
that makes a program or intervention operate. Define what whanaungatanga
is (both traditional and contemporary definitions) and describe how
the concept has (or could be) been mobilised in the provision of services,
interventions or training programs. How does it work and why? When
doesn’t it work?
täku ki tëtehi o aku akonga Päkehä, kua
atawhaingia e ähau i roto i ngäna
mahi, nö mua noa atu o täku whakaae kia noho
mai ia i raro o aku parirau. ‘Ina tukua
ki a koe Päkehä, ko tëtehi höhonutanga o ngä tikanga whakaaro, kua
pëwheatia e koe? Kua
rawekengia ränei kua atawhaingia
ränei.’ Waihoki tana matatau ki ngä whakaritenga o te
Whare Wananga, kei reira katoa. Heoi anö täku he wero i öna tikanga
ake! Nö tana hokinga mai ki ähau me te pepa
nei, ka puta te whakaaro, ka pëwhea mai te Ao Mäori ki ä tätou, ngä
pouako Mäori e tuku nei i ä tätou märamatanga
ki te Päkehä. He pätai nui tërä ki a Ngäi
Täua! Kei riro i a Tauiwi
te mana o ngö tätou märamatanga. Nö reira te tänga o te pepa nei.
Hei titiro mä te kaipänui, hei whakaarotanga mäna, hei whakamätau
anö i a tätou me ä tätou mahi i roto i ngä wharekura ao Päkehä. He tono anö rä. Tukua mai koa ko ä koutou na whakaaro mö
ngä mahi a te Päkehä nei …
Heoi anö rä mö te tono
ki ngä kaipänui, he pätai anö rä äku e toru noa iho i tënei wä - ki
taku tangata, ana ko taua ahua anö rä, he
whakaohooho hinengaro – töku ake, tö taku tangata, tö te kaipänui
Kua pëwhea mai to möhio ki taku reo
Mäori. Ka taea e tëtehi reo ënei tikanga te whakawhitiwhiti whakaaro, ëngari, mä töna reo ake pea tënei
mea te whanaungatanga e körerorerotia höhonutia ake?
He pëwhea rä tana möhio ki tënei mea
te wä, inärä, tërä pea ngä möhiotanga o ngä tängata nei o Metge mä
he höhonu kë ake i ngä whakakitenga mai – he wä anö pea mo te whakapuaki
He pëwhea rä nöki
tana möhio ki tënei mea te wähi. He wähi whakawhitiwhiti whakaaro anö ä mua, he wähi
anö ä muri – he wähi anö ngä huihuinga Mäori, he wähi anö ngä huihuinga
Päkehä. Terä pea he aukatinga anö o ä mua,
o ngä huihuinga Päkehä?
School of Maori and Pacific Development
This paper will introduce definitions of whanaungatanga
from various contemporary and traditional sources and note
the approaches of those sources whom the author has identified as
traditional with those identified from the academic source of social
anthropology. Difficulties arise when evaluating the matching of
service provision to the community needs when that community may have
a different philosophical base from that of the social policy determinator
and perhaps the social policy provider. This paper will argue that
the significance to Māori of the interrelationship of subjective
value processing and values within whānau, is why the issue of
whanaungatanga has importance to Maori and why it is most often misunderstood
by those people who have embraced a western academic philosophical
consideration of how issues, values, and the inter-relationships of
value processes sourced from within a Māori way, can have a semblance
of ‘fit’ to Pākehā ways of governance
is also explored. .
Definition from a traditional contemporary source.
The many meanings offered by a wide range of authors are simplified
in a treatise of Māori wisdom (Barrett-Aranui, 1999). This modern
counsellor from a traditional Maniapoto background, describes whanaungatanga as the concept of inter-relationships.
She writes as influenced by her ‘…femaleness, age, [64 years] and
subtribal (hapu) responsibilities.’ (p.
4.) However within the prompts coming from the cues of her ancestral
house, Te Tokanganui-ä-noho, located in the King Country township of
Te Kuiti, she describes a web of inter-relational aspects of life
processes governed from within the four sub-tribal areas of Maniapoto,
and incorporating all the protocols, histories, whakapapa, role responsibilities
and duties, and spiritual essence and physical placement of objects
and aspects, among many other cues to consider. Implicit in her descriptions
are the many subjective experiences of process that are for Tuti Aranui,
the holistic concept of inter-relationship that is whanaungatanga.
Short definitions by association.
Durie (1998) associated the term haputanga with whanaungatanga as structures
to be useful in his discussion on developmental processes utilised
by Māori, Rangihau (1992) associates
the concepts within whanaungatanga as being fundamental components
of identity within Māori. Moeke-Pickering (1996) includes traditional
(kinship) whānau, contemporary (kinship as the consequence of urbanisation)
whānau, and a structure of whānau as a ‘management framework’,
all as dynamics in functions of Māori identity. Bishop (1996)
associates the term whakawhanaungatanga with establishing collaboration
processes in research. When considering processes, the rituals of
encounter both formal and informal (Salmond,
1975) are the means where the commonalities and differences in relationships
in the Māori world are both acknowledged and tested.
Definition by default.
An intriguing lack of reference is that whanaungatanga does not occur
as a concept worthy of explanation in Barlow’s (1991) glossary of
key concepts in Māori culture. There are several possible explanations
for such an omission.
One possibility is that the term was not generally used in traditional
Māori society to describe the principle of inter-relationships
that is often given as a thematic meaning of modern society. Other
possible explanations originate from the fact that Barlow is male
and sources much of his material from the Te Hikutū hapu of the
Hokianga district of Tai Tokerau. There are two important notes with
this comment; material sourced from one particular Māori experience
(Te Hikutū in this instance) is not readily able to be generalised
to other Māori whānau, hapu, or iwi; and a statement from
a male of a Māori community does not necessarily reflect the
totality of the thought and experience of that community. (Ngā kōrero
wāhine me ngā
kōrero rangatahi (female
narratives and young people’s narratives) can be often omitted from
However a view consistent with the pragmatic principle of useful explanation
is that whanaungatanga is so much part of the processes of being Māori
that its principles were assumed to be known and understood by Māori
and therefore did not need explanation. – In a rhetorical vein, as
Barlow presented his material in both te
and English, might one consider whanaungatanga a concept already well understood by a bilingual
from te reo Māori.
Williams (1992), Dictionary of the Māori Language, one of the
substantive dictionary references of the Māori language also
does not specifically define (whaka)whanaungatanga
nor is there given an example of usage, however there are several
definitions and grammatical uses given for the constructive roots
of the word and within those constructs it is possible to ‘create’
a range of possible interpretive uses and find examples of various
contemporary contextual usage. This dictionary has the following usages
noted that appear to have contextual association with the many meanings
discussed elsewhere in the literature.
v. i. Be
Be in childbed….
n. Offspring, family group….
A familiar term of address to
a number of people….
Lean, incline, bend
Whanaunga, n. Relative, blood relation ….
1992, p. 487.)
Whaka- (ii), causative prefix; probably connected with the previous
Combined with an intransitive verb, an adjective or participle to form
an intransitive verb, it signifies a beginning of, or approach to,
the action or condition indicated….
Combined with a noun to form an intransitive verb, it signifies the
assumption of the character or form expressed by the noun….
As a strict causative it may combine with a verb, adjective, participle
or noun to form a transitive verb….. Other varieties and shades of
meaning will be found under the word to which whaka is prefixed
in each case.
1992, p. 486.)
is discussed by Williams as a suffix that may fit into the following conditions:
… passive termination, tanga, which
is sometimes added to a verb or to an adverb qualifying a passive
verb, and apparently indicates a rapid sequence of events….
A noun denoting the fact, circumstance, time or place or action of
a verb may be formed by adding one of the suffixes nga, anga,
hanga, kanga, manga, ranga, tanga, inga,…
nouns may be formed from nouns, adjectives, or participles and denote
the fact, etc., of being, or of becoming, the thing or of the quality
or the condition indicated by the original word.
(Williams, 1992, p. xxxvi).
diversity within the grammatical usage of the suffix
–tanga alone illustrates some of the problems identifying
single defining characteristics of whanaungatanga. Of curious note
is that within the descriptions for whānau and whanaunga, Williams
does not ascribe any principle of value in a way that other authorities
Salmond (1978) in a lexical study of sets of values and value relationships
demonstrates that the Māori language has many cues that may demonstrate
simultaneously both opposing concepts and concepts of connectivity.
There is also a contention of ‘chaining’ of meaning where the qualities
from one meaning of a word are grouped as qualities associated with
that word in all its forms of meaning (and in some examples with the
quality of the paired opposite). There are no direct references to
whanaungatanga as a concept, but there are many references to values
that others incorporate as necessary inclusions of the value processes
within whānau and within whanaungatanga
from non-Māori academics
(1992), introduces whanaungatanga as part
of an interrelated grid of value processes, including wairuatanga
(as an overall governing principle), manaakitanga, kotahitanga, and
rangatiratanga. He argues that none of the terms have a simple translation
and that use of any one concept draws on a host of meanings linked
to the other values in the grid. According to Ritchie, wairuatanga
has themes associated with spirituality; manaakitanga has themes associated
with responsibility to hospitality, reciprocity and caring; rangatiratanga
has themes associated with hierarchy, structure and authority within
the group; and kotahitanga has themes associated with the collective
unity of the group.
With out giving references, Ritchie sources the meaning of whanaungatanga
from whānau, ‘family…or body of close kin, whether linked
by blood, adoption or fostering.’; ngā
as a generalised extension of whānau;
and tanga as an indication of ‘a process concept concerned
with everything about relationships between kin’. From within these
collective concepts Ritchie describes whanaungatanga as the ‘basic
cement that holds things Māori together.’ (Richie
1992, p. 67).
Metge (1995) allocates the meaning of whanaunga from traditional usage
as restricted to ‘…relatives …connected by descent and sometimes by
marriage.’(p.52). She specifically denies that the term is rooted
from the Māori word whānau both in birth or family usages,
but (citing Williams 1971) claims the term derives from the Māori
word whanau, to lean together. This paper challenges Metge’s position
of citing source from a single meaning as she then draws on
the five other definitions originating from the word whānau
according to Williams when describing current usage.
But following from Te Rangihiroa (1925) that :
The argument of this paper promotes an extension of Te Rangihiroa’s
argument that it is necessary to incorporate a knowledge
of the context of the Māori word usage in order to include the
nuances of meaning associated with transitive and intransitive, and
active and passive forms of the grammar. Associated with this argument
is the context where some Māori themselves are now taking an
out-of-original-context English translation as the meaning of a word
or phrase and thus perpetuating errors of meaning.
Following from Te Rangihiroa’s argument, Metge (1995) arguably falls into errors
of ‘category’ when she describes the five separate meanings of whānau
in contemporary usage as consistent with pre European Māori usage.
These anthropological categories are derived from descent, and common
goals and activities. From Williams (1971) all of these five meanings
are available from the grammatical syntax. Metge further compounds
her distinction of categories error by adding a further “host of new
meanings” (p.54.) in five broad categories,
covering parent and immediate children to metaphorical groups gathered
for a common purpose. (Also contextually covered
in Williams (1971). This paper does not deny that the many
forms of meaning noted by Metge are in current usage but argues that
the forms of meaning come from the one root: whānau,
and all of the meanings separated by Metge are available in the contextual
grammar of the Māori language.
A summary of meaning
Drawing on all of the above contributions to meaning this paper would
describe whanaungatanga as a default set of value processes invoked
in inter-relationship considerations dependent on an issue. The inter-relational
sets of values including: 1. take/kaupapa (principles
associated with the dependent issue), 2. whakapapa
(principles associated with descent). 3. wairuatanga
(principles associated with a spiritual embodiment),
4. manaakitanga (principles associated
with duties and expectations of care and reciprocity), 5. kotahitanga
(principles associated with a collective unity) and
6. rangatiratanga (principles
associated with governance, leadership and the hierarchal nature
of traditional Māori society) this paper expects would all
be embraced in a successful whanaungatanga model. The difficulty must
be acknowledged that none of the sets of themes can be analysed without
incurring a need for input to the other adjacent themes.
The whanaungatanga concept as a model has immediate potential conflict
with western models in the areas of wairuatanga. This conflict is
not new in that since the time of the philosopher Descartes, western
science has denied the inclusion of any spiritual notion in things
that are analysed in an academic or scientific way
(Foster, 1991). This paper would argue that the inclusion of
a spiritual dimension is a valid ‘other’ way of analysis, and from
a tikanga Māori perspective is an absolutely
necessary dimension which demands inclusion.
How whanaungatanga works as a model of analysis, intervention
The governing criteria for whanaungatanga are the associated values
and value processes.
In the Māori cosmology there is a relationship between the spiritual
realm and the physical world. (As above so below.)
The inter-relationships of the cosmological whānau (Walker, 1990)
from primary principal Io and between secondary principals Ranginui
(sky father) and Paptüänuku (earth mother)
and their various offspring in the Māori creation mythologies,
for Māori, set many of the bases for
the spiritual, psychological, emotional and physical ways of being.
Further into Māori mythologies are traditions of what Walker
(1990) calls the Maui/Täwhaki cycle which
although not common to all Māori traditions, all of the traditions
have aspects of demi-god cycles where mana,
(power and authority emanating from the Gods) has consequence in the
relationships within the whānau of tuakana - teina, tūpuna
- mokopuna, tāne - wahine,
tungāne - tuahine
among the responsibilities and obligations of reciprocity
to and within the whānau, and among the responsibilities and
obligations of care and protection, aroha, whangai and
The descriptions of values within the principles of whānau from
Metge (1995) are sets of whakaaro nui (great ideas), as values
that have a specific quality within the whānau context. (Metge
uses the term whakaaro nui, but perhaps ‘mātua
whakaaro – foundation concepts’ would have been used had the author
a deeper comprehension of te reo).
Metge also notes there is a whānau of principle reference (a
default whānau). The reader is not to assume that one value takes
precedence over another (which may or may not be the fact depending
on the issue and the participants and consideration of all of the
value consequences of the interactions.). It should also be noted
that this paper concedes a usefulness in
Metge’s descriptions of values, but tends more towards the position
of Marsden (1975) in being highly critical of knowledge of Māori
thinking that originates from the discourse of social anthropology.
The factors that have continuity through all the contemporary and
traditional meanings of whānau are the noted associated values
and associated value processes and it is the application and continuity
of these values and processes that give validity to whanaungatanga
as an appropriate model of analysis.
Whether the whānau is issue-orientated (take/kaupapa)
or descent orientated (whakapapa) the values have a
consistency of application, resonating through all usages of meaning.
Whanaungatanga as a model fails to have a synonymous application within
the academic spheres and culture of western science, and therein lies
the main failing. A scientific model is an intellectual construction,
and whanaungatanga is a collection of inter-related subjective experiences.
The colonised position of a ‘cultural superiority of science’ (which
is where most interventions and applications are resourced from in
Aotearoa New Zealand) is uncomfortable with processes that originate
within principles of collective subjectivity, and specifically denies
(to its cost) the existence of any spiritual causality.
An example of whanaungatanga as an evaluation process.
An examination of Bishop’s (1996) analysis’ of Tū Mai
Kia Tū Ake
(The imact of the Taha Māori program on Otago
and Southland schools) and Mahi Tū Tonu
( a compendium of resources for the Taha
Māori program in Otago and Southland Schools) projects gives
validity to a successful and appropriate use of whanaungatanga as
a structure of analysis and also identification of where the processes
of whanaungatanga were used, but the analysis also apparently accounted
only for the requirements of an academic text and in so doing all
of the processes and the issues being researched were not accorded
Taha Māori was a program initiated by the Department of Education
in the 1980s in answer to requests from both Māori and non- Māori
educators to acknowledge the status of tangata whenua in Aotearoa
New Zealand. Huata Holmes commenced his evaluation of the Taha Māori
program as put into practice in Otago and Southland in 1992 .There
were several issues at stake but from a Māori-interest perspective
the Taha Māori program had suffered criticism by reason of the
Lack of goals, guidelines and resources
to implement the program.
A severe loss of Southern Māori
tikanga argued due to colonisation processes.
Pakeha capture of Māori knowledge
Resources being shifted from meeting
the needs of Māori children to meeting the needs of non-Māori.
What resources that used were not
necessarily applicable to the local iwi but were generically
acceptable to the non-Māori so in effect were forcing a non tangata
whenua view of things Māori
on the local iwi.
had also been two significant intervening government policy implementations
that had a critical effect on the Taha Māori
program: The ‘Tomorrow’s Schools’ policy with its devolution of power
to local Boards of Trustees; and the bringing of the Treaty of Waitangi
into the school processes.
Holmes is a kaitiaki of the Southern Māori tikanga being
acknowledged as a kaumätua of Kai
Tahu, Käti Mämoe,
and Waitaha. He also held positions of advisement to the Education
Department at the University of Otago, and the research group te
The processes of research.
Invitation to participate.
contact was initiated first by a courtesy phone call from Huata Holmes,
then a letter following outlining what was hoped be achieved and perhaps
who should be met with. The decision of who and what the agenda was to be, was then left to the school
formalised the hui as a member of a small group (ope
whakaeke), always with a woman’s voice present,
and always as a visitor (manuhiri), and with
the school as the host. In the protocols of encounter Holmes establishes
his connections “…between himself, the landscape, the schools, the
local communities and the teachers.”. (Bishop, 1995, p.83.). Bishop omits the detail of karakia invoking
spiritual connectedness and correctness of purpose, (all functionalised
under the broad speak of the pōwhiri (ritualised
welcome). The purpose is addressed until there is an integrity of quality able to be tested (in its own right)
The term pono fits well in this application of value
approach of the researcher to the participants – whakarongo,
principle of whakarongo (being attentive and listening),
then titiro (making observations) and only then kōrero
(speaking and questioning), enhanced his standing. Holmes’ demeanour
was to not challenge or belittle his informants.
participants allowed the researcher to share their experience and
for he to share his experience with them. The principles involved
here are that of kotahitanga ( a
collective oneness) and manaakitanga (reciprocity).
the research proceeded, there was demonstrated, a functional need
for resources from the tikanga of Southern Māori. This resource
development became the second of the co-joint projects (Mahi Tū
Tonu). The tapu of those resources (taonga)
is being protected by keeping the stories in the Southern Māori
dialect, available for all but also only available to those whose
desire for the information has been tested as worthy by dint of them
achieving competence in the Southern Māori
resultant projects become bound into the tikanga by the processes
of whakawhanaungatanga. The tikanga demonstrates the whanaungatanga,
and the whanaungatanga demonstrates the tikanga.
whanaungatanga may fail as process.
Marsden (1975) in the Māori way of thinking, all things (every
person, animal, plant, rock and thought) have a mauri,
an essential essence, a potential, a life force. By Holmes conforming
to the kawa of the tikanga then from a traditional Māori way
of thinking the processes addressed the mauri of
the project. Bishop omits discussion of this aspect in his analysis,
and in the opinion of this paper by this omission belittles the mauri of the project. If any aspect
of the inter-relational processes are prevented from being,
then the inter-relationship fails. This would include any part of
the process prevented from occurring by way of having to conform to
another ideology., (for example a methodology
base in a discourse of western science.) Bishop quoting Holmes discusses
where this ‘other’ thought can be included into a Māori philosophy
and then become part of the inter-relationship. However Marsden (1975)
doubts that a Māori way can be included or even known by experience
in a Pākehā way of thinking.
has show there are many meanings of whanaungatanga
and although meanings are defined separately in the western experience,
tikanga Māori and te reo Māori
have many meanings from a common resonant source. By utilising
the principles within the subjective value processes it is possible
to have very effective interventions. The intervention itself becomes
part of the value process. When parts of the value process of the
intervention are denied either structurally or philosophically according
to Māori principles then the process of whanaungatanga is damaged
(from a Māori way of thought) and the intervention may not succeed.
It is the hope of the authors
of this paper that Pākehā will start
to grasp an understanding of te whai ao, - te ao mārama
ō te Māori
Ki te whai ao ki te ao mārama
E manawa mai te putanga a te Ariki
E manawa mai hoki te putanga he tauira
He tauira putanga Ariki no runga
Ki te whai ao ki te ao mārama
Hara mai te toki
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