Te Whare Rangahau (The House of Research): Designing a methodological framework for an artistic inquiry into Māori gender, identity and performance.

Keywords: Gender identity, indigenous research methodology, pūrākau, Māori world view, takatāpui


This article considers the methodological framework constructed for the doctoral thesis Takatāpui Beyond Marginalisation: Exploring Māori Gender, Identity and Performance. In this practice-led artistic inquiry the researcher adopted a critically iterative approach where “research questions were initially exploratory and reflective, serving to create an internal dialogue between the practitioner and the making” (Tavares & Ings, 2018, p. 20). The formative question underpinning the thesis asked: 


How might an artistic reconsideration of gender role differentiation give a unique voice to takatāpui tāne identity?1 


The research sought to illuminate an experiential context, then generate visual and performance artifacts where the principle of irarere within gender identity and sexual orientation, might find a purposeful place to stand within te ao Māori (the Māori world view).2  


Emanating from a Kaupapa Māori paradigm the study employed the methodological metaphor of Te Whare Rangahau, a research space that is populated with methods including karakia (incantation), kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) interviewing, iterative experimentation, pakiwaitara (poetic inquiry), photography, and choreography. In the thesis, Te Whare Rangahau integrated a number of features from Robert Pouwhare’s (2020) Pūrākau framework for practice-led, artistic inquiry - specifically his observation that in much artistic Māori research, through mahi (practice) and heuristic inquiry, the researcher may draw sustenance from both the realm of Te Kura Huna (what is unseen, genealogical, esoteric or tacit), and Te Kura Tūrama – (what is explicit and seen). Within Māori epistemology, a dynamic of mahi (practice) draws nutrients from these realms, synthesising and connecting elements in the generation of print based and performative artistic outcomes. 

Author Biography

Tangaroa Paora, Auckland University of Technology

Tangaroa Paora is of Muriwhenua descent. He holds a Master’s degree in Māori Development (First Class Hons) and his PhD is due for submission in August 2023. His research is primarily concerned with gender role differentiation and its impact on forms of Māori performance. Between 2020-2023 he was co-president of Tītahi ki Tua (the AUT Māori Students Association), Ahakoa Te Aha, and the Auckland Pride Māori Advisory Board. He is currently employed as a lecturer in Māori studies, teaching language and development.


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