He puna auaha he puna wairua: Creative Methods in Research

Logan Hamley - IIRC20
Thursday, November 19, 2020

This presentation draws on initial finding of my PhD research exploring the ways young Māori men construct their identities and navigate complex social worlds within Auckland, New Zealand. In particular, it highlights how young Māori men make meaning of Māori masculinities, foster diverse Māori identities, and build connections within urban spaces. Drawing on a critical Māori realist framework, I engaged in qualitative, semi-structured interviews with 30 young Māori men between the ages of 16 and 24 and who currently live in Auckland.  

From these interviews I have engaged in poetic inquiry as a form of research analysis, using data poems to construct collective representations of how young Māori men engage with their identity. Poetry is open to interpretation and meaning making that academic writing often is not and therefore the reader is part of the process, (re)interpreting the text for their context and worldview. Thus, poetry can invite the audience to be part of the research experience, to place themselves in the experience, to imagine and explore the bounds of research. Poetry through its imagery and prose often makes research accessible to different communities than academic writing. Therefore it appeals as a form of analysis which can span the often wide gap between research and community.  

Further, poetry plays within the realm of affect, emotion and wairua, rejecting the notion of a purely logical response to the challenging topics we research within Indigenous spaces. Creativity is an essential part of Indigenous practice. The capacity to imagine beyond the realms of the colonial present, and to draw upon creative methods is an important part of Indigenous knowledge and activism. This is present in the legacy of story and storytelling within Indigenous cultures and practice.  

As such, I draw upon story through poetry as an element of Indigenous and Kaupapa Māori practice, placing young Māori men's stories into conversation with one another. Exploring themes of Māori masculinity, te reo and home, I explore one of the poems from my research, highlighting the ways in which these young people make sense of broader social discourses in relation to their everyday experiences as young Māori men. From reflecting on the diverse interpretations of the poetry as an audio-visual text, I offer some insights into the diversity of Māori experiences and realities presents the opportunity for communities and organisations to reimagine their engagement with young Māori men. Further, I hope that those engaging with the poem may (re)interpret it within their own contexts and spaces, reflecting on how it may intersect with their own experiences.