Mahi Tahi: Māori and Anthropology in Aotearoa New Zealand

 "This is my marae, with Tāne-Nui-A-Rangi our wharenui and Mateparae our wharekai. This is was a really important site for me to see Rakaipaakatanga in action" - Hollie Russell, Ngāti Rakaipaaka | Photo by Tessa Russell of  Moemoeā Collective  for  Hollie Russell's MA in Cultural Anthropology

"This is my marae, with Tāne-Nui-A-Rangi our wharenui and Mateparae our wharekai. This is was a really important site for me to see Rakaipaakatanga in action" - Hollie Russell, Ngāti Rakaipaaka | Photo by Tessa Russell of Moemoeā Collective for Hollie Russell's MA in Cultural Anthropology

What is the relationship between Māori and anthropology in Aotearoa New Zealand? How can we talk to, rather than past, one another about the history and development of anthropology here? ASAA/NZ is delighted to announce the launch of Mahi Tahi: Māori and Anthropology in Aotearoa New Zealand, an open-access initiative that provides a space for anthropologists to engage with these questions and more. Taking our cue from Joan Metge’s 2001 book Korero Tahi: Talking Together, our goal is to ‘stir up the silence’ (George 2017) that often surrounds this history and facilitate meaningful, generative conversations about the relationship between Māori and anthropology in Aotearoa.

Inspired by the ritual encounter of a pōwhiri, which acknowledges the distance between hosts and visitors and provides a way to negotiate relationships and differences, Mahi Tahi represents our desire to step into this space and work together. We will also meet in person at venues such as our annual ASAA/NZ conferences so we can share food (an important part of the pōwhiri process). We invite you to join us online and in person. 

Mahi Tahi seeks to spark conversations in three formats:

  • An online library of relevant literature, which builds on work recently completed by Jade Gifford as part of her Summer Research Scholarship at Victoria University of Wellington
  • Short pieces published on our blog
  • Face-to-face meetings at our Annual Conferences

These conversations will form the basis for an open-access undergraduate teaching resource we plan to publish in the future. We envisage clear research themes emerging through our collective efforts, which we will draw upon in designing the structure and content of the undergraduate teaching resource.

ASAA/NZ Chairperson Professor Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich describes Mahi Tahi as a timely and welcome initiative. “I am sure this will be a success,” she said. “We need something like Mahi Tahi for anthropology in Aotearoa New Zealand, which has a unique history and is different from anthropology in other parts of the world. This is a process we started a few years ago and it is great to see it building momentum.”

Mahi Tahi is guided by a steering committee comprising: Lily George, Lorena Gibson, Marama Muru-Lanning, Fiona McCormack, and Catherine Trundle. Visit our website for more information, including how you can get involved and our contact details.