Traversing the Plateaus of Knowledge[s] within the Rituals of Research Processes: How “Mana” Helps to Determine Activity

By Susan Huhana Mlcek, Monte Himone Aranga and Ngareta Timutimu.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In this paper, narrative experiences are used to explore issues and practices of mana within a Māori New Zealand research context. On one level, mana is manifested through actions and behaviours of authority, prestige, influence, and power, and is rule-bound in traditional customs and protocol. However, in a taken-for-granted-world, where the different formal evocations of mana ought to be observed, we underestimate the extent to which the mundanity of our situations can allow for several discontinuities to occur. For example, the occupation of certain contexts allows mana to be determined through activity that undergoes processes of territorialisation, deterritorialisation and then re-territorialisation; through unexpected schemas and connections. But do these re-territorialised outcomes enhance the research space, or even the presence of mana? When Deleuze and Guattari (1987) used the term ‘rhizome’, they envisaged a network of multiple and branching roots, with no central axis, no unified point of origin, and no given direction of growth. The alignment of our experiences to rhizomatics then, is to openly share the ruptures, discontinuities, connections and interrelationships between phenomena, within the ‘fluid nature’ of ritualised research containment. The aim of this work is to present ideas for discussion about the ways that mana determines research activity through the juxtaposition of unfolding and unyielding ways of engagement.

Keywords: Mana, Māori Spirituality, Rituals of Memory, Knowledge[s], Rhizomatics, Taken-for-Granted-World

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 10, pp.85-96. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.043MB).

Dr. Susan Huhana Mlcek

Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities and Social Sciences , Faculty of Arts, Charles Sturt University, CSU, Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia

Currently I lecture at CSU across all facets of the human services curriculum, including cross-cultural competencies, social policy, and communication subjects. I am course coordinator of the social work degree program at our rural and regional campus in Dubbo, and have a particular focus on Indigenous education. Other interests and specialised teaching relate to community development, management of human services, language and literacy studies, and foundational education opportunities for marginalised and disadvantaged learners. Research and publications address all the above. I worked with the co-authors of this paper at the tribal university, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi [TWWoA), when I was there as Director of Foundation Studies in 2006/2007. One of the outcomes from our collaborative research was a major project for the NZ Ministry of Education published 2009.

Monte Himone Aranga

Senior Lecturer, School of Indigenous Graduate Studies, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, Whakatane, North Island, New Zealand

Ngareta Timutimu

Senior Lecturer, School of Indigenous Graduate Studies, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, Whakatane, North Island, New Zealand


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