Amadonna Jakeman

Amadonna Jakeman

Master of Arts in Māori Development student
Bachelor of Māori Development

Ngāti Te Tarawa, Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi nui tonu, Ngāti Te Ata, Ngāti Maniapoto, Tainui, Waikato

She hopes her research will provide further insight into kaupapa Māori and ignite more critical dialogue into Aotearoa New Zealand's constitution, the Tiriti-Treaty relationship and history, says Amadonna Jakeman.

“My research explores Te Ruki Kawiti's 1846 final speech – said after the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in 1840 and the battle of Ruapekapeka in 1845 – and its impact on resistance activities and the relationship between the Crown and Ngāti Hine, particularly in the Treaty settlement process. I hope my research encourages other Māori, Tangata Whenua and indigenous whānau to think about what research means to them and their whānau.”

The research topic chose her, says Amadonna who is supervised by Elisa Duder and Professor Paul Moon.

“My grandfather's name comes from Kawiti's speech and I was raised largely in Ngāti Hine and Ngāti Te Tarawa. I’ve attended many Waitangi Tribunal judicial conferences and hearings over the past ten years and was the communications advisor for the Waitangi Tribunal. In 2016, I provided a brief of evidence in support of Ngāti Hine’s Te Tiriti o Waitangi claims. I moved back home to Ngāti Hine in 2009, and I want my tamariki to grow up knowing the kōrero and history from our tūpuna.”

The right time for postgraduate study
Her Master of Arts is her second time studying at AUT, says Amadonna who expects to complete her degree at the end of the year.

“I completed my Bachelor of Māori Development in 2000, straight out of high school. When I finished the bachelor’s degree I didn't feel ready for postgraduate study because I wasn't sure what to specialise in. Eighteen years later, I finally felt ready and it felt right to come back to Te Ara Poutama.”

The biggest challenge for her was combining a te ao Māori world view with western academic requirements while keeping the mana of her topic intact, Amadonna says.

“Research has been associated with exploitation and extraction, and was used against our whānau and Māori people in the past. Utilising kaupapa Māori theory to facilitate a space for pūrākau and kōrero tuku iho helped me overcome the often-conflicting space I found myself in. I’m thankful for the staff at Te Ara Poutama who provide a korowai of learning for ākonga like me to walk between the two worlds.”

Support and guidance
The fact that postgraduate wānanga were held in Auckland once a month made it easy to combine study with her other commitments, Amadonna says.

“The wānanga were awesome and I needed them to focus on my topic and kōrerotahi with the kaiako and other ākonga. I’m thankful for the tutors and the way they showed me manaakitanga particularly during the postgraduate wānanga and their ability to guide me through my first year. I’m also thankful for Te Pūrengi marae for looking after me as I travelled each month to Tāmaki-makau-rau from Te Taitokerau.”

She would recommend the Master of Arts in Māori Development to others, says Amadonna who received the Peter Harwood Scholarship to support her studies.

“The programme is crafted so you learn and can apply the learning directly to your research topic. It was challenging at times but I’ve learned so much. This year, I will focus on fieldwork and writing my thesis. The process of refining my research topic and the tutors' unique way of facilitation helped to uncover this topic; a topic that has always been a part of my life.”