The paepae: spatial information technologies and the geography of narratives
Indigenous peoples around the world face similar challenges pertaining to their ancestral territories in planning, protection, policy, and advocacy. For Maori, of Aotearoa New Zealand, issues related to mana whenua, mana moana, demarcation and the protection of ancestral boundaries and associated cultural assets often require the creation of maps as proof of use and existence of tribal cultural footprints. Conceding this, GIS mapping technologies offers a unique suite of tools that can assist Indigenous peoples including Maori to demarcate their ancestral territories, tell their stories, map their biographies, protect their land and articulate their mana whenua and mana moana. GIS technology has gained a world-wide reputation for its ability to manage and manipulate large amounts of geographical or spatially organised information. This technology has enormous implications and application for Indigenous peoples around the world looking at managing their own cultural information. Indigenous cultures, including Maori, throughout the world are exploring the potential that GIS technology and techniques offers in managing and mapping their ancestral landscapes based on their unique view of their part of the world. Indigenous peoples are traditionally oral based societies wherein their knowledge base was maintained and passed on using oral narratives such as songs, genealogies, chants, theatre and storytelling. Oral narratives such as moteatea, karakia, tauparapara, and whakapapa and korero purakau unique to Maori were used to store their notions of the world and to pass that knowledge forward to each successive generation. Embedded in these oral narratives were their notions of place which informed their concept of a cultural landscape; a landscape informed by narratives; the geography of narratives. The primary purpose of this thesis is to examine the potential for blending GIS technology with oral narratives without compromising the integrity or changing the nature of that landscape and culture that informs it or without those oral narratives losing any of their cultural integrity or mana.
Advisor: Benwell, George; Paterson, Lachlan
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: Information Science
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: GIS; Indigenous; Oral histories; Ancestral landscapes; Spatial information technologies
Research Type: Thesis