Doctor of Philosophy (Indigenous Studies)
My doctoral rangahau (research) and thesis focused on the resistance, struggle and survival of my Ngāti Hinerangi hapū and iwi of Matamata and Tauranga. Labeled as Hauhau and unsurrendered rebels, we were driven to the brink of cultural extinction by the Crown and Pākehā settler colonisers. Our lands, our identity, our language, our culture, our history, our stories, our traditional practices, our ancient knowledge systems, our spiritual beliefs were undermined, destroyed or stolen from us by 170 years of cultural genocide.
This experience was shared by iwi and hapū throughout Aotearoa when our tūpuna faced the critical turning point of our history in the mid-1860s of military invasion, massive land confiscation and destruction of our language and culture. The invasion of British military forces and settlers was not a one-off event. Colonisation is a structure that continues unabated today with the objective of driving our culture and language to extinction.
My thesis focused on why we as a nation must reframe our understanding of colonisation. In telling the story of the origins, history and identity of Ngāti Hinerangi, it became clear that our stories, events and experiences are in danger of being lost forever. The knowledge held by whānau and hapū must be reclaimed and recorded before it completely vanishes. Hapū rangatiratanga, which is the central essence of the Treaty of Waitangi, is under threat of being extinguished by the iwi-mandated Crown-constructed Treaty settlement process. Māori researchers and scholars must honour the courage of our tūpuna. We must write and tell the stories handed down by our kuia and koroua in their resistance, struggle and survival against colonisation and cultural genocide.
Dr McDonald has received the following awards: Emeritus Professor Roger Green, ONZM, Award for Top Thesis in 2018 and was Valedictorian 2018
Kimihia he huarahi ako
What can you study?