He iti te manu he nui te kōrero - The bird is small - the story is epic
Pouwhare, Robert Marunui Iki
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This thesis* explores storytelling as cultural expression, and creatively considers the concept of bowdlerisation, and its role in sanitising Māori stories, as an aspect of colonisation. It is formatted as a creative output and a written exegesis. The creative component comprises a film, based on an ancient story of Māui and his quest for immortality that was foiled by the Tīrairaka (fantail). The thesis is contextualised by an early iteration of the work that was produced for a children’s production by the researcher in 2006. This was aired on Māori Television as part of its Māori language revitalisation strategy. The filmic work, He iti te manu he nui te korero, involves a renegotiation of the original animation and its underlying narrative, so that a deeper understanding of ancient knowledge and its cultural paradigm, may be accessible. Methodologically, this renegotiated text was refined through a process of reflection on practice and feedback. In the retelling of this story, the narrative is sourced from the oral traditions of the researcher; specifically the way his kaumātua once transmitted stories and knowledge. Thus, He iti te manu he nui te kōrero is informed by their epistemological and ontological frameworks that have arguably not been bowdlerised by the colonial experience. The practice-led thesis has three objectives. First, it utilises the potentials of digital technology to design and assemble a Māori-language teaching resource. Second, it considers and creatively responds to the concept of cultural narrative bowdlerisation. Finally, He iti te manu he nui te kōrero operates as the first phase of a more expansive, multitiered project that will form the creative core of the candidate’s practice-led PhD. * The thesis is divided into two parts. The first is a body of practice called He iti te manu he nui te kōrero. The second is an exegesis that contextualises the practice.