Virtualising the stories of Ngākau Māhaki mā te whare e arahi : let the whare be the guide

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Grbic, Victor
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Design
Unitec Institute of Technology
Renata, Hohepa
Barnett, Cassandra
Witehira, Johnson
Keelan, Josie
Masters Thesis
Ngākau Māhaki (Meeting house)
Te Noho Kotahitanga (Unitec Institute of Technology)
Te Rua (Research repository)
research repositories
digital research repositories
Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae (TNK marae)
intellectual property rights
online access to indigenous material
digital platforms
New Zealand
Grbic, V. (2016). Virtualising the stories of Ngākau Māhaki mā te whare e arahi: Let the whare be the guide. An unpublished exegesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Design by Project, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand. NOTE: Link below is to a Prototype Media Platform at this stage.
This research investigated how mātauranga Māori, recorded histories and events associated with Unitec’s Te Noho Kotahitanga marae can be shared within a digital space. To this end, I developed a model digital repository Te Rua, which demonstrates the potential to meet the needs of Unitec’s diverse and changing learning community, while upholding the cultural integrity of Māori partners. Kaupapa Māori approaches frame the research and because of this Māori knowledge and interests in the repository project are privileged. Kaupapa Māori has also supported a robust, iterative and collaborative research practice that allowed me to establish effective engagement and participation with potential repository partners. Together, we have explored the scope of our experiences, approaches, concerns and aspirations for the project. The construction of Te Rua focused on the preferred forms of audience engagement with mātauranga Māori. My Māori research partners’ recommendations are supported by my research into current digital media platforms and tools associated with indigenous content and cultural heritage projects. As a supplement to the modeled repository Te Rua, this research project has produced a set of guidelines for the design of a more permanent digital repository. The guidelines charge institutions such as Unitec with the responsibility of upholding the taonga status of mātauranga Māori. The guidelines also reflect the overarching design goal of an online repository that ensures audience access and engagement is positively encouraged and aligns with the tikanga of the marae. Key questions I explored within this project are: what are the implications for storing taonga and mātauranga Māori within digital spaces; what are the cultural practices, values and concerns that guide the research; and how might Māori processes of engagement with and on marae be transposed to a digital space? I conclude that taonga and mātauranga Māori can be successfully transposed to digital spaces when Māori partners and content owners have an ongoing role in the design process to ensure audience access and engagement with taonga aligns with tikanga Māori.
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