In September, award winning composer, Maree Sheehan joined Te Manawahoukura Centre of Rangahau at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa as Kairangahau Matua (Toi).
Maree hopes that her vast experience as a researcher, educator, and composer will allow her to conduct Rangahau, and support others within Te Wānanga o Aotearoa to conduct Rangahau that will have a positive impact for Māori and within the toi Māori space.
“Rangahau has the ability to change hearts and minds. It provides and elevates the opportunity for mātauranga Māori to be seen in a western world where it should and does have equity,” says Maree.
Maree’s passion for Rangahau stems from her passion for te ao Māori and her aspirations to see more Rangahau published in both national and international academic journals.
She says that through conducting and publishing Rangahau, it will be written into history and gives voice to te ao Māori and mātauranga Māori in realms that it may not currently be recognised in.
“Rangahau has the ability to give people an understanding of te ao Māori and who we are as Māori. We need to be in those academic spaces and we need to be pushing back on western paradigms. We write about our culture, ourselves, our kuia and koroua, our whakapapa, how we do things and how we see the world, and that's really important.”
After spending most of her life living in Aukland, she is now based in Kirikiriroa, where her whānau are from, working out of the Mangakōtukutuku campus of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in Glenview.
Maree’s whakapapa connects to Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Waikato and Ngāti Tahu-Ngāti Whaoa, so she is grateful to work at an institution that allows her to be close to her whānau and marae, and have her feet planted back on her whenua.
Maree made a conscious decision to work at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, within Te Manawahoukura Centre of Rangahau, due to her desire to give back to her people and her whānau.
“That’s the underlying heart reason why I’m here in this role. In fact, it’s more key than anything else. It’s about giving back to our own people. If I can be of service or help others in the Rangahau space or any other space, learning, education, toi Māori, then that’s what I’m here for.”