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Student Profiles

Hohepa Tamehana
Iwi:
Tūhoe, Whakatōhea, Ngāti Ranginui

Doctor of Philosophy in Indigenous Studies

Background Summary:

All my qualifications have been attained through Te Whare Wānanga ō Awanuiārangi. It is a culturally safe and supportive environment that allowed me to explore Māori potential within a Māori context, supported by our own ways of knowing and being.

In 2009 I completed a Bachelor in Mātauranga Māori. In 2011 I completed a Master of Indigenous Studies with first-class honours, and in 2012 I enrolled in the PhD programme. My research areas for both Masters and PhD have centred on Tūhoe, the Masters examining the setting of tikanga relating to marae activities, and the PhD exploring Tūhoe sovereignty.

The decision to undertake a PhD in Indigenous Studies was never about attaining a higher qualification – it was about better understanding Māori terms that are regularly used but awkwardly defined. The PhD journey allowed me to combine the stories and lessons learned from my parents and grandparents, the memories I had growing up on my marae and my life experiences, and to reflect upon them, unearthing deeper understandings. The result was a thesis titled “Exploring historical and contemporary contexts and practices of mana motuhake as a foundation for Tūhoe self-government/governance”.

I plan to use my research to influence greater understanding and participation by both rural and urban Tūhoe in the area of tribal development.

Hohepa Tamehana in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, at the Kamloopa Pow Wow. Mr Tamehana explored Canadian First Nations and Inuit experiences in tribal self-government/governance as part of his thesis research.