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Mātauranga Māori and reproduction: Inscribing connections between the natural environment, kin and the body

Jade Le Grice, Virginia Braun


The reproduction of Indigenous people, who have experienced ongoing cultural and ethnic marginalization, has long been a source of contention in colonizing contexts. There is scope to further decolonize and reinvigorate traditional Indigenous knowledge that has relevancy and utility in contemporary lives. The present article engages a pūrākau (narrative) methodology (Lee, 2009) to construct a culturally relevant PhD literature review and synthesize a range of source materials to develop an account of traditional Māori knowledge (mātauranga Māori) pertaining to reproduction in a New Zealand context. Three areas are explored based on their novelty and distinctiveness from Western accounts of reproduction: connections between humans, spiritual domains and the natural environment; contextualization within social and familial structures; and a unique and refreshing view of masculine and feminine embodiment. Conclusions are drawn on novel implications of this knowledge for research and health services.

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Print ISSN 1177-1801 Online ISSN 1174-1740