Indigenous Autoethnography

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  • 8/10/2019 Indigenous Autoethnography


    Journal of Contemporary version of this article can be found at:

    DOI: 10.1177/0891241613508148

    11 December 20132014 43: 456 originally published onlineJournal of Contemporary Ethnography

    Paul WhitinuiExperiencing ''Self'' as a Native Method of Inquiry

    Indigenous Autoethnography: Exploring, Engaging, and

    Published by:

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    - Dec 11, 2013OnlineFirst Version of Record

    - Jul 9, 2014Version of Record>>

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  • 8/10/2019 Indigenous Autoethnography


    Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

    2014, Vol. 43(4) 456487

    The Author(s) 2013

    Reprints and permissions: 10.1177/0891241613508148



    Exploring, Engaging, andExperiencing Self as aNative Method of Inquiry

    Paul Whitinui1


    Tirohanga Whnui (Abstract): Traditional knowledge systems have been at thecore of our existence as indigenous peoples since time immemorial. As anoral/aural-based society, our ancestors frequently engaged in opportunitiesto not only test their knowledge at different times and in different situations

    but also to recall knowledge through the art of story-telling. This paperseeks to (re)position autoethnography from an indigenous perspective. Thiswill be achieved by referring to autoethnography as a culturally informedresearch practice that is not only explicit to Mori ways of knowing butcan be readily validated and legitimated as an authentic Native methodof inquiry. Grounded within a resistance-based discourse, indigenousautoethnography aims to address issues of social justice and to developsocial change by engaging indigenous researchers in rediscovering their own

    voices as culturally liberating human-beings. Implicit in this process is alsothe desire to ground ones sense of self in what remains sacred to usas indigenous peoples in the world we live, and in the way we choose toconstruct our identity, as Mori.


    indigenous autoethnography, Native inquiry, Mori, self, identity,difference, culture

    1University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

    Corresponding Author:

    Paul Whitinui, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.





    10.1177/0891241613508148Journal of Contemporary EthnographyWhitinuiresearch-article


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  • 8/10/2019 Indigenous Autoethnography


    Whitinui 457

    Mihimihi (Formal Greeting)

    Tihei Mauri Ora Behold there is life

    E te Atua, tnkoe To God, greetings

    E ngmaunga, tnkoutou To our mountainsgreetings

    E ngawa, tnkoutou To our riversgreetings

    E ngMarae, tnkoutou To our Maraegreetings

    E ngmate To the dead

    Haere ki te wkinga Go to your true home

    Haere ki te kinga tuturu o tttouMtua

    Go to the real home of our Father

    Haere, haere, haere atu Farewell, farewell, farewellpiti hono ttai hono The lines have been joined

    Te hunga mate ki te hunga mate The dead to the dead

    Te hunga ora ki te hunga ora The living to the living

    Nreira, e rangatira m Greetings, esteemed friends

    Ka nui te koa, me te hari I am very happy

    Kua huri mai ttou i tni r that we have gathered today

    Ehara ahau i te tangata mohio ki tekrero, otire tika ana kia mihi atu

    I am not a speaker but it is right that Ishould greet you

    Ko Pohue, ko Emiemi, ko Tangitu ngmaunga

    My mountains are Pohue, Emiemi, andTangitu

    Ko Puhi te tangata Puhi are my people

    Ko Taitimu te whare tpuna Taitimu resides memories of ourancestors

    Ko Mtaatua te waka Mtaatua is our ancestral canoe

    Ko Kaeo me Pupuke ngawa Pupuke and Kaeo are our traditionalrivers

    Ko Whangaroa te moana Whangaroa is our ocean waters

    Ko Tahwai, ko Te Huia, Paparore ngMarae

    Tahwai, Te Huia, and Paparore ourtraditional meeting places

    Ko NgPhi ki Whangaroa me TeAupuri ngiwi

    I descend from the nation of NgPhiin the Whangaroa region and TeAupuri tribes

    Ko Ngtiuru me Ngtikurnghap Ngtiuru and Ngtikurare myassociated tribal affiliations

    NWhakatne ahau, engari, keitepoti e noho ana

    I hail from Whakatne, but I now live inDunedin, New Zealand

    Ko Pora Whitinui ahau My name is Paul WhitinuiNreira, tnkoutou, tnkoutou,

    tnkoutou katoaGreetings one and all!11

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  • 8/10/2019 Indigenous Autoethnography


    458 Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 43(4)

    Tmatanga Krero (Introduction)

    Indigenous autoethnography as a distinct Native2 method of inquiry

    requires that as a person of Mori3

    descent, I respectfully introduce who Iam (social identity) and where I am from (place identity). Similarly, andfrom an indigenous epistemological approach, there exist other broader con-structs and meanings associated with our essence as cultural human

    beingsesoterically, metaphysically, and spiritually (Shirres 2000; Meyer2005). Hauge (2007) describes three identity theories worthy of mention:

    place-identity theory, social identity theory, and identity process theory. Suchtheories invariably locate self holistically and as a reciprocal interaction

    between people and the physical environment (Hauge 2007). Hauge (2007)describes this as a transactional view of settings where variations of place(i.e., sense of place, place attachment, place identity, place dependence, etc.)are constantly influencing a persons perceptions, experiences, personality,and cognition. Given the relative ease of accessing technology (i.e., comput-ers, iPhones, iPads, mobile phones, and other virtual interactive forms ofcommunication) in todays world, meeting indigenous peoples face-to-face(kanohi-ki-te-kanohi) is a culturally preferred and legitimate means of com-municating, engaging, and interacting with indigenous peoples on their terms

    (Hemara 2000; Mead 2003; Shirres 2000; Wilson 2009). Durie (2001b)describes seven different kinds of whnau (family) constructs where self asan indigenous experience can be considered and constructed differently, suchas whnau as kin (based on traditional ancestors), whnau as shareholders ofland (land held among family members), whnau as friends (different kindsof associations outside of the immediate family), whnau-based meetings(family meetings discussing matters specific to their needs and aspirations),whnau as neighbours (neighbourly family members), whnau households

    (income dependant families), and virtual whnau (family we rarely see).Whnau as an indigenous construct is layered by a number of different humaninteractions specific to ones place, identity, environment, and communityand influenced significantly by the cultural collective. Of particular concernare families (and individuals within) who are disconnected, lack identity, andare isolated and categorized as disadvantaged, underserved, and vulnerablemany of whom we know very little about (Durie 2001a). To understand howothers are affected, we must create appropriate spaces, approaches, and meth-

    ods for others voices to be heard.Discovering, exploring, coconstructing, and narrating notions of self asan indigenous person must take into account an individuals ability to articu-late meaning in relation to why