Research students

Find out what study in Te Kawa a Māui is like—read what our students have to say about their experiences.

Current profiles of Te Kawa a Māui research students can be viewed on our Student profiles page.

Summer Scholars 2020

Octavius Jones – He Papa Moana project

Octavius Jones graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2009 with a BS in African Languages and Literature. In 2017 he completed an MA in Ethnic Studies and a Certificate in Women and Gender Studies from Colorado State University. He is currently a research assistant and PhD candidate at Te Kawa a Māui, working on the He Papa Moana component of the Moana Project which develops a cross-cultural ocean-knowledge foundation with “methods from kaupapa-Māori, social science, and novel analytical, and digital ocean observing technologies” in order to support iwi marine spatial plans and an impact assessment tool to inform iwi governance of multi-sector activities in their rohe moana.  Octavius has been researching what an exchange platform would look like and existing research, projects and platforms that the Moana Project can draw on.

Katie Tollan – Reimagining cities through te reo, mātauranga, and ecological decolonisation

Katie Tollan completed a BA in Cultural Anthropology with minors in Māori Studies and Film from Victoria Universty of Wellington in 2019 and is now studying toward a Masters of Indigenous Studies. This summer she has been working at Te Kawa a Māui under the supervision of Dr Ocean Mercier and Dr Mike Ross to publish a journal article that examines and analyses competition entries for the Imagining Decolonised Cities project, formed by Victoria University academics and members of Ngāti Toa Rangatira in 2017. The project invited members of the public to envision a decolonised Poririua where tangata whenua histories and identities are respected and represented, creating spaces that are equitable for all whānau. Katie’s research further analyses identified key themes that transcend to wider literature on decolonisation. These themes include sustainable self-determination, story-telling as a form of decolonisation and rethinking western perspectives of landscape. Katie now maintains that decolonisation is a practical and accessible method of change as opposed to a movement existing only in theory.

Tamahina Sheridan – Digitising documents from the Taranaki land claims

Tamahina Sheridan (Te Āti Awa, Te Ātihaunui-a-Pāpārangi, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti) completed a BA in Cultural Anthropology with a minor in Linguistics from Victoria Universty of Wellington in 2019 and is now studying toward a Masters of Indigenous Studies. He has been working under the supervision of Dr Peter Adds to archive documents from the Taranaki land claims heard by the Waitangi Tribunal between 1990 and 1996. Much of this research and subsequent settlement negotiation was conducted at Te Kawa a Māui, forming the basis of claimant evidence presented to the tribunal which culminated in the release of the Tribunal’s Taranaki report Te Kaupapa Tuatahi in 1996. Tamahina has whakapapa connections to Taranaki and Te Āti Awa and has been in the process of digitising and indexing these historical files and documents.