PhD presentation:Treaty partners? Māori PhD students and the settler-colonial university
We invite you to attend the oral presentation of the School of Education PhD candidate, Hine Funaki. Her supervisors are Joanna Kidman and Cherie Chu.
Aotearoa universities are legally obliged to practice Treaty principles: participation, partnership, and protection as recognition of a bicultural partnership between indigenous Māori and Pākehā settlers. To demonstrate recognition of equal partnership, all eight universities have policies in place to ensure Māori have equitable resources and opportunities. Dominic O’Sullivan (2007) argues however, that Pākehā locate Māori as the ‘junior partner’ in the Treaty relationship, and thus, equity is not achievable. From this position, and in light of ongoing calls to critique the long-standing under-representation of Māori in universities (students, faculty and management), I too question this notion of ‘Treaty partners’ and I wonder how Māori PhD students experience such ‘partnership’ in the settler-colonial university.
The two main research questions I ask in this study are: How do universities construct and position Māori in institutional policy and practice? And, how do Māori PhD students construct their academic selves in the course of their doctoral journeys? In this research thesis, I draw on critical whiteness studies and critical race theory to explain ideologies of white supremacy in a settler-colonial context and argue that whiteness is structurally enacted through equity and diversity policy and pedagogical/supervisory practice. I will conduct document analysis to explore how Aotearoa universities construct and position Māori in institutional policy and practice. A Kaupapa Māori lens will weave through the research and connect indigenous theory with indigenous methods. Drawing on storytelling, ethnography and a cross-sectional study, I will visit over 20 Māori PhD students from universities in Aotearoa and centre Māori student voice while exploring what it means for them to be a Treaty partner in a settler-colonial university beyond the current understandings of institutional policy.
Key words: Settler-colonial, university, Treaty partners, equity, policy, whiteness, settlerness
Please arrive on time, to avoid disruption for the presenter and other attendees.