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Final Arrangements Following Death: Maori Indigenous Decision Making and Tangi

Authors


Linda Waimarie Nikora, Maori and Psychology Research Unit, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.

E-mail: psyc2046@waikato.ac.nz

ABSTRACT

Death is a universal event. It will happen to all of us, yet how we respond to death is particular and influenced by our cultural worlds. This study offers an investigation of the idiographic, of how one woman responded to, and made arrangements to, mourn and bury her mother. Specifically, we explore how she and her whanau (family) under pressure of time and grief and in the absence of clear final wishes met to consider issues and make decisions about the situation they were confronted with. This case forms part of a much larger programme of research into Maori death rituals, change and adaption. Informing a scholarly audience unfamiliar with the Maori world requires a significant amount of contextual information. The case study is a powerful strategy to achieve this and one that draws readers into deep understanding (Willig, 2008). This case provides insight into the struggles of an indigenous fourth-world people living within the heterogeneity of Aotearoa/New Zealand society; it demonstrates how values change across generations as people live their lives increasingly away from their ancestral homelands and how traditionally defined roles and responsibilities within the whanau (family) are challenged by members living away from each other. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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