Congratulations to Kākano Award Recipients

Two anthropology graduate students have received Kākano Fund Awards in the first round for 2018. Congratulations to:

Kris Finlayson, MA candidate at Massey University, who received funding to help with thesis printing and binding costs. 

Thesis title: "Wie is ek?: An identity study of Afrikaners in New Zealand"

Afrikaners have had a tumultuous history since the Dutch arrived in what is now known as Cape Town. Using Barth’s concept of ethnic identity creation and modification, this research examines the state of Afrikaans identity in a New Zealand diasporic context. The research employs a novel approach to interview data collection, using a modified version of Wengraf’s (2017) biographic narrative interview method in conjunction with a dual-participant interview method. This approach allows a multiplicity of subjective viewpoints, exploring Afrikaner perceptions, their experiences, how they see themselves as fitting into their Afrikaans community and how this community fits into New Zealand society. 

The findings from this study show that Afrikaners refer to an Afrikaner archetype as a primordial model against which they compare themselves. The model consists of four key characteristics: language, heritage, faith and worldview. Participants subconsciously referred to themselves against this model in order to ascertain how ‘typical’ they are regarding shared community behaviour and thought-patterns.

The study then discusses this Afrikaner identity in a New Zealand socio-cultural context. It discovers that even though New Zealand and Afrikaner-South African societies are vastly different, New Zealand’s socially liberal worldview allows an easy transition for today’s comparatively diverse Afrikaners. This transitional process and ethnic boundary modification was found to impact Afrikaner identity in varying ways.

Andrea Merino Ortiz, MA candidate at the University of Auckland, who also received funding to help with thesis printing and binding costs.

Thesis title: "The Gift of Volunteering: Relationships Between Colombian Former Refugees and Volunteers in New Zealand”

My thesis provides an ethnographic analysis of the relationships between Colombian refugees and volunteers in Hamilton and Wellington. I investigate their interactions through theories of social exchange. I argue that their relationships are deeply embedded in practices of gifting, reciprocity and obligation and suggest that the encounters between volunteers and Colombians became instances where people with distinct cultural understandings of exchange came together, consequentially creating spaces for the ongoing negotiation and re-signification of exchange practices. Ultimately, I contend that the construction of relationality through social exchange was essential to how Colombians experienced settlement yet had complex and multilinear outcomes. Volunteers’ involvement largely had unpredictable and varied effects. While at times the relationships between volunteers and refugees were helpful for fomenting Colombians’ sense of belonging, at others they inadvertently highlighted cultural difference and exacerbated refugees’ feelings of separation and alienation. 

Established in 1985 by funds gifted by Dame Joan Metge, the Kākano Fund is primarily for Masters students majoring in social and cultural anthropology who are completing theses or dissertations. We also consider PhD students if funding permits. The Fund provides financial assistance towards thesis production costs and/or costs involve in presenting a paper at a conference. The second round of applications for 2018 will open later in the year.