Women's leadership for social justice-one womens pūrākau

Tui Summers - IIRC20
Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Women are under-represented in the social justice leadership literature. This research aims to develop an enhanced understanding of the origins and orientation of women’s social justice leadership from a case study of one-woman leader. This presentation focuses on the story of Kiripuai Te Aomarere, a Ngāti Raukawa Kuia and Kaikaranga who dedicated most of her life to iwi, hapu, marae and whānau activities and demonstrated a strong commitment to achieving equality and self-determination for Māori.

Using pūrākau methodology the origins and orientation of Kiripuai’s social justice leadership are examined. This research focused on how and why Kiripuai became such a strong leader and how and why she was committed to wider social justice issues. Research methods used include an analysis of archival records and interviews with several of Kiripuai’s whānau members. A wide range of archival sources such as interviews, whakapapa records, government documents and journal records were utilised. Books and archival sources related to the social, cultural and political environment over Kiripuai’s lifespan are used to demonstrate the way in which context influenced and shaped her experiences and her leadership. She was from the World War II generation, also known as the greatest generation, who experienced the depression, World War II, the evolution of the women’s liberation movement and the Māori renaissance.

As much as possible Kiripuai’s voice is foregrounded in the research. In this presentation initial themes emerging from the case study will be explored including the origins of her leadership such as the influence of religion and also of Kiripuai’s mother Rāhapa. Some costs that were experienced due to Kiripuai’s social justice commitments are examined. The orientation of Kiripuai’s leadership including her dedication to Raukawa marae, her involvement with Whakatupurunga Rua Mano-Generation 2000 and her role as part of the Te Māori exhibition to San Francisco is outlined (Mead, 1986; Winiata & New Zealand Planning, 1979).

The benefit of this research is that it can give voice to women’s leadership for social justice. It profiles and illustrates the benefits of using indigenous research methodologies. Furthermore it can elucidate the origins and orientation of women’s leadership potentially supporting the future development of indigenous women leaders.