2023 Undergraduate Research Showcase


Mana Motuhake: A Māori Look at Self Determination in Response to the Treaty of Waitangi

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Christopher Courtheyn


The Māori protest movement is a diverse protest that initially was sparked by the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, and was coined as an official movement in the early 1960’s. This paper studies the connection between mana motuhake, the Māori word for self determination or autonomy and the colonial past of Aotearoa/New Zealand in relation to the action of the Māori protest movement. The concept is rooted in the concept of mana, or self identity, which refers to the Māori's connection to land, which grounds and bridges people to the past, present and future. Mana thus describes and deepens the concern for land rights and Māori self-determination. This paper will discuss how the Treaty of Waitangi impacted mana motuhake and how the narrative of the Māori displays reaction to an unfulfilled treaty. A discourse and content analysis is used to build upon a narrative of the Māori people living in Aotearoa in response to past, present and future concerns within land rights, rights to autonomy, fulfillment of the treaty, governance and quality of life. This paper will be analyzing academic articles on the history of Aotearoa colonization, first person accounts and secondary source interviews of Māori who were impacted by the Treaty of Waitangi and colonization of Aotearoa. This study uses news articles from news sources in New Zealand in the 2000’s to analyze the continued land rights issues that the Māori face. It investigates ongoing struggles over the unfulfilled Treaty of Waitangi, reparations, and land to analyze the broader relationships between colonialism, state governance, and indigenous sovereignty.

This document is currently not available here.