Anthropology seminar in Wellington on 8 November 2018

Next week Victoria University of Wellington’s Cultural Anthropology Programme is hosting a seminar featuring BA (Hons) student Jade Gifford (Ngāti Kahungunu ki te Wairoa and Ngāi Tuhoe) and MA student Josh Connolly. All welcome!

Date: Thursday 8 November
Time: 3:10-5:00pm
Venue: MY 305, Murphy Building, Kelburn Campus, Victoria University of Wellington

Ka whiti-te-rā, Ka tō te rā, Ka ahatea te rākau me tōna puawaitanga? Glimpses into the History of Māori and Anthropology in Aotearoa

by Jade Gifford

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“Ka pū te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi”, “As an old net withers, another is remade”. Over time, anthropology has played a role in the collection and salvaging of Māori knowledge for fear of extinction; it has impacted the ‘controlling’ of Māori communities through Native policy-making; and it has also become institutional alongside, and at times grown out of Māori studies departments in universities across Aotearoa. Today it provides a platform for us to rethink what anthropology is for, to employ kaupapa Māori methods, explore wider indigenous anthropological theory, and to use decolonising discourses to reframe how we think about knowledge and what we consider academic knowledge. The discipline of anthropology in Aotearoa has a vibrant and dynamic history. This seminar will seek to begin to answer the question the title poses - “What has happened to the tree and its’ blossoming?”. It will look at was has stunted, and what has promoted, the growth of this rākau of Te Waonui a Tāne.

Jade is a Māori student of Ngāti Kahungunu ki te Wairoa and Ngāi Tuhoe descent. She graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology and English Literature in December 2017 and has recently completed her honours degree in Anthropology. Jade also intends on undertaking her MA in 2019.


Tā’aloga ma fa’asinomaga ma fa’aSāmoa (ma Josh)
Sport, identity and culture in the lives of Samoan-New Zealanders (and Josh)

by Josh Connolly

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It is at this point, a truism that anthropology has a long and complicated history when it comes to the observation, representation, and construction of the ‘other’ particularly within the Pacific. Besnier, Brownell, and Carter (2018) note that while anthropologists may not have contributed significantly to the colonial project they greatly benefited from the access that affiliation with colonial administrations allowed them. In contemporary New Zealand one might assume that the world of sport is distant from the historic processes and power dynamics of colonialism however during the process of my research it became clear that this was not the case for participants. Discourse that frames the relationship between Samoan-New Zealanders and sport often does so in terms that rely on stereotypes and the naturalisation of sporting ability and participation suggesting that they are ‘built’ for sport. I hoped that my thesis would be able to offer a counter-narrative to such discourse exploring the ways in which sport, particularly rugby, is a culturally embedded practice for Samoan-New Zealanders. The realisation of the extent to which contemporary New Zealand sport is embedded within both modern and historical processes of ethnicity-based discrimination prompted me to further examine my place within the field; what drove me to this particular topic and what business did I or an anthropological approach have within this space? In this seminar I will explore the ways in which my positionality influenced my topic, my methods, and ultimately the shape that my thesis took as well as the future potential I see in this area of inquiry.

Josh is a Palagi student who recently submitted his MA thesis titled '‘It’s part of who I am’: Tā’aloga ma fa’asinomaga ma fa’aSāmoa - Sport, identity, and culture in the lives of Samoan-New Zealanders.' In 2016 he completed his BA with honours in Cultural Anthropology part of which involved undertaking a policy research internship with the Association of Social Anthropologists of Aotearoa/New Zealand (ASAA/NZ).


This seminar is free and open to the public. Registrations are not required. For further information, contact Gill Blomgren on 04 463 5677 or email: gill.blomgren@vuw.ac.nz