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Te Pū o te Rākau: Pūrākau and Indigenous Storywork

Always more than ‘an incredible story’ (Williams, 1985), pūrākau were cultural narratives that generated knowledge, understanding and inspiration about our natural, social and spiritual worlds. Today, pūrākau continue to be crucial to our identity, sustainability and flourishing as Māori. Pūrākau enable us to articulate whānau expectations and cultural practices, build whānau resiliency and safety, provide hope and inspiration, as well as encouraging collective responsibilities and support.

This project will support the broad use of pūrākau as a theoretical and analytical interdisciplinary tool, as well as the pedagogical potential of pūrākau as a critical practice. Furthermore, it meets with 'Indigenous storywork' coined an conceptualised by Jo-ann Archibald Q'um Q'um Xiiem (2008) to speak to the power of traditional and contemporary Indigenous stories, and the way they are being utilised by different peoples to seek, address and engage 'te mea ngaro'.


Research Team

Associate Professor Jenny Lee-Morgan

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Associate Professor Jenny Lee-Morgan has extensive experience and expertise in Māori Education as a whānau member, practitioner, academic and researcher. Formerly, Head of School, Te Puna Wānanga, The University of Auckland, she is currently the Deputy Director of Te Kotahi Research Institute, at The University of Waikato. Her teaching and learning experiences were the impetus for much of her work, including: her book ‘Jade Taniwha: Māori-Chinese identity and schooling in Aotearoa’; and subsequent co- authored book ‘Oho Ake: Rehu Marae, Ngā Puna o Waiōrea’ written in te reo Maori. Her most recent co-edited book is ‘Decolonisation in Aotearoa: Education, Research and Practice’. Jenny’s doctoral thesis entitled ‘Ako: Pūrākau of Maori secondary school teachers’ (Lee, 2008) was seminal in the development of pūrākau as kaupapa Māori approach to narrative inquiry, and sparked her investigation in pūrākau and Indigenous storywork.

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Associate Professor Jenny Lee-Morgan has extensive experience and expertise in Māori Education as a whānau member, practitioner, academic and researcher. ... more

Professor Wiremu Doherty

Professor Wiremu Doherty is a New Zealand Māori educationalist and academic. He has been appointed CEO at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi. Prior to this appointment, he was Deputy CEO Academic Provost, Executive Dean and Head of School. Wiremu comes from a background in secondary school teaching and tertiary education. He was Assistant Principal at Saint Stephen’s School, then Principal of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi Marae. He undertook research for the Ika Whenua land claims in the early 1990’s whilst completing a Masters at the University of Waikato. He then moved to the tertiary sector as Te Amorangi (Māori Director) for Manukau Institute of Technology. Wiremu contributed to the development of Te Reo Māori NCEA Level 1 and 2 in the NZQA framework. He is also a Foundation Touchstone member of the Secondary Schools Futures Project. His PhD focusses on the roots of Mātauranga Māori in tribal based knowledge – Mātauranga-ā-Iwi, combining a kaupapa Māori background with experience in imaging future education and its relevance to Māori. Wiremu is the Chair of Ngā Kaitūhono, the Body established by New Zealand Qualifications Authority to ensure Māori content is used appropriately. He is a Director on Te Uru Taumata for Tūhoe, is Deputy Chairman of Manawaru Tribal and newly appointed Chair on the Board of Trustees for Trident High School in Whakatāne. He is the past president of Te Akatea, the National body representing Māori Principals and Deputy Principals, and within this capacity has worked with several Education Ministers and Secretary of Education on numerous initiatives. His whakapapa connections are Tūhoe and Ngāti Awa and he is an active participant in governance, iwi strategic and development issues. Wiremu is an avid hunter through the Urewera and is most comfortable in a bush shirt, at home with his wife Tania and two children (Te Hirea and Wiremu) in Ngaputahi.

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Professor Wiremu Doherty is a New Zealand Māori educationalist and academic. He has been appointed CEO at Te Whare Wānanga ... more

Professor Jo-Ann Archibald

Professor Jo-ann Archibald, is a professor in the Educational Studies Department at the UBC Faculty of Education. She was the former associate dean Indigenous Education and the director of NITEP (Indigenous Education Program). She received a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) degree from the University of British Columbia, a Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree from Simon Fraser University. Over a 45 year educational career, Jo-ann has been a school teacher, a curriculum developer, a university administrator and professor. She is also a very proud mother, grandmother, and auntie.

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Professor Jo-ann Archibald, is a professor in the Educational Studies Department at the UBC Faculty of Education. She was the ... more

Jason De Santolo

Jason De Santolo is a researcher, creative producer and father committed to forging a sustainable world for future generations through thorough transformative research strategies, storytelling and practices of renewal. Born in Larrakia homelands, Darwin, he moved to Aotearoa New Zealand at an early age, growing up to eventually study treaty and international environmental law. On graduation he trained as a researcher at the International Research Institute for Maori and Indigenous Education at the University of Auckland. His unique research practice integrates video, creative practice and renewal strategies through a Garrwa driven decolonising research paradigm. In 2014 he received a University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Research Excellence Scholarship to undertake a creative doctorate that explores the renewal of Garrwa song traditions through his passion for film-making and collective aspirations for self-determination and autonomous sustainability. Jason is currently a Senior Researcher and head of media at Jumbunna: Institute for Indigenous Education and Research.

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Jason De Santolo is a researcher, creative producer and father committed to forging a sustainable world for future generations through ... more