Multiple identifications and the dialogical self: urban Maori youngsters and the cultural renaissance


Centre for Pacific and Asian Studies, University of Nijmegen, PO Box 9104, 6500 HE Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


The renaissance of Maori culture and tradition has played a significant role in the political campaigns of New Zealand's indigenous population over the past few decades. At the same time, however, it has brought to light that many Maori youngsters are unable to construct a cultural identity in terms of the discourses of culture and tradition that dominate the political arena. This article analyses the experience of urban Maori youngsters in ceremonial settings (marae) by examining the question of how they mediate different representations of their cultural identity within the self. It demonstrates that many young Maori people are engaged in a psychological dialogue between, on the one hand, the classic model for a Maori identity that prescribes them to embrace traditional culture and, on the other hand, their personal identification as outcasts in daily practices of New Zealand society.