Aroha’s granddaughters: representations of Maaori women in Maaori drama and theatre 1980-2000
This thesis explores representations of Maaori women characters in plays written
by Maaori between 1980 and 2000, arguing that, as the level of self-determination in Maaori theatre has increased, these representations have become less stereotyped and more reflective of a range of Maaori women’s realities. The thesis suggests that waahine dramatists in particular represent contemporary Maaori cultural identity as flexible, diverse and changing.
The Introduction gives reasons for the thesis' focus on Maaori women and outlines three major influences which have determined the approach to close-readings and analyses of waahine characters in the body of the thesis: an early Paakehaa representation of Maaori women, an increase of Maaori dramatists and the emergence of Maaori women's feminism.
The thesis comprises a further six chapters.
Chapter One contextualises the play analyses which appear in Chapters Four Five and Six by describing a Maaori theatre and drama whakapapa that stakes a significant and influential place for waahine theatre practitioners. Chapters Two and Three explore tino rangatiratanga/sel-determination and marae-concept theatre (respectively), arguing that between 1980 and 2000 these aspects of content and form have created theatrical conditions which facilitate Maaori women's representation. Chapters Four, Five and Six show that, as
Maaori women such as Renee' Rena Owen, Riwia Brown, Roma Potiki and Briar Grace-Smith have become more active in the Maaori theatre whakapapa, contemporary representations of Maaori women have become more complex and diverse.
A set of bibliographic appendices provides detailed lists of first productions of plays
mentioned in the thesis.
Throughout, the thesis maps the increased visibility and presence of Maaori women on the New Zealand stage, showing how in the years 1980-2000 the theatre has become a potent site for expression and exploration of Maaori cultural identity.