Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Ngā waiata o Tāne Whakapiripiri (The music of Tāne Whakapiripiri): Cultural expression, transformation, and healing in a Māori forensic psychiatric unit
by Sweetman, Lauren E., Ph.D., New York University, 2017, 379; 10243485
Abstract (Summary)

In Aotearoa New Zealand, Maori are overrepresented in criminal and mental health contexts, comprising only 14.9% of the nation, yet over 50% of institutional populations. These figures are not unique, but represent a broader struggle to overcome the legacy of colonization affecting indigenous communities worldwide. In response to these issues, I examine the impacts of Maori cultural expression in forensic mental health through an ethnography of the kapa haka ropu (group) in the Kaupapa Maori forensic psychaitric unit, Te Papakainga O Tane Whakapiripiri. This unit reconceptualizes Western frameworks for mental health service provision, incorporating cultural education as an integral aspect of treatment, such as Maori performing arts (i.e., kapa haka). The unit also imbues Maori cultural values, practices, and forms of expression into daily life, an act that transforms the experience of institutionalization for tangata whai i te ora (patients) and the practice of forensic mental health more broadly. In this dissertation, I first unpack the collaborative methodology developed in this research, providing a set of recommendations for a more “codetermined” research process. I then explain the research’s broader academic and social contexts, tracing the history of Maori music scholarship, and then the history of New Zealand’s cultural and political transformation from 1840 to the present. This culminates in an ethnography of Tane Whakapiripiri, where I examine the impacts of the kapa haka program and the unit’s broader musical activities on tangata whai i te ora and the clinical environment in four domains: te taha wairua (the spirit), te taha hinengaro (the mind), te taha tinana (the body), and te taha whanau (the community). Overall, this research illustrates that embedding forms of cultural expression such as kapa haka into the clinical model positively impacts tangata whai i te ora, improving their understanding and experiences of themselves, their illnesses, and their environment. Such cultural expression also shows how a Kaupapa Maori framework transforms the institutional environment from a Western model emphasizing individualism, hierarchy, and isolation toward a more holistic, collective, and wh?nau-centered model that holds the potential to shift our understanding of what forensic mental health is and can be.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Samuels, David W.
Commitee: Daughtry, Martin, Ginsburg, Faye, Kapchan, Deborah, McIntosh, Tracey
School: New York University
Department: Music
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 78/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mental health, Music
Keywords: Anthropology, Cultural expression, Forensic psychiatry, Maori, Mental health, Music, New Zealand, Pacific, Whakapiripiri, Tane
Publication Number: 10243485
ISBN: 978-1-369-63008-4
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