PhD proposal presentation: Māori spaces in foreign places – Hinemihi o te ao tawhito
Many aspects of Māori tourism development are intrinsically linked to cultural identity (Te Awekotuku, 1981; Ryan, 2002). This study proposes that Māori notions of cultural identity are not confined to connections with geographical place alone. Rather, cultural identity emerges from socially created spaces that are dependent on the relationships between people as well the relationships with iconic cultural references. It is argued that these references exist both physically and metaphysically.
The study will explore the history of Hinemihi, a whare tipuna that was situated at Te Wairoa, until the eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886. She was built during a time of the burgeoning tourism trade associated with the Pink and White Terraces that were at the time attracting increasing numbers of European visitors. Hinemihi is now situated at Clandon Park, Surrey, England which is a quintessential English estate - now also a tourist destination. Embedded in Hinemihi’s history are significant periods of change for Māori. The research will consider her relationships with Tūhourangi and Ngāti Hinemihi in her early years through to her current relationship with Ngāti Ranana. Links with people through whakapapa and through kaupapa ‘whanau’ (Durie, 2008) will be examined. The physical and metaphysical nature of those links will be analysed in order to better understand the linkages between people, place and time. The concept that Māori spaces can be created in foreign places will be drawn from perspectives of people who, through Hinemihi, connect to England and/or home, ‘Aotearoa’.