Walking the line : the experiences of racism among non-stereotypical Māori : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science (Psychology), School of Psychology, Massey University, Manawatū, Aotearoa New Zealand
Aotearoa, New Zealand (NZ) is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse countries in the world (Dudley, Faleafa, & Yong, 2016; Ogden, 2007; Rocha, 2012; Stankov & Lee, 2009). Like other Indigenous cultures, Māori have been significantly impacted by historical, and ongoing, colonisation (Dudley, Wilson, & Barker-Collo, 2014; New Zealand Psychological Society, 2016; New Zealand Psychologists Board, 2018; Shepherd & Leathem, 1999). Due to NZ’s continually blending society, many bicultural Māori-Pākehā babies are born with blonde hair, blue eyes, and fair skin. Features which conflict with the traditional phenotypical stereotypes associated with Māori, created via historical texts and perpetuated by the media (Sibley, Stewart, et al., 2011). Many bicultural Māori are socially assigned identities that are incorrect. In previous research among 8500 Māori participants, 25.8% (N=2198) believed they were socially assigned as solely Pākehā (Statistics New Zealand, 2018). A survey and four semi-structured interviews were used in this research and interpretive phenomenological analysis was used to explore the data. The experience demonstrated how these bicultural Māori, occupying hybrid positions, can experience privileges due to their appearance and affinity with the Pākehā culture (Houkamau, 2016). However, they often have their authenticity as Māori challenged and describe were likely to develop insecure cultural identities. where they did not feel a true sense of belonging to their cultural heritages. These non-stereotypical Māori commonly experienced varying forms of discrimination and racism from both their Pākehā and Māori in-groups (Apiata, 2017b; Barnes, Taiapa, Borell, & McCreanor, 2013; Bassett, 2010; Fusitu'a, 2018; Hayden, 2019; Hura, 2015; Korako, 2018; MacDonald, 2018). They may perceive socially appointed limitations on their right to participate in cultural activities which leads them to feel ostracized from te ao Māori, potentially causing them to deny their Māori heritage entirely (MacDonald, 2018). This research presents unique experiences that add depth to the current body of research concerned with bicultural psychology. It reinforces the importance of cultural safety across public services, discouraging cultural blindness and assumptions regarding cultural needs outlines ways to overcome cultural stereotyping and better reflect Māori diversity (Bennett, 2018b; Kingi et al., 2017; Pack, Tuffin, & Lyons, 2016b; Wepa, 2018).