Jan Liddell

1306 – Origins of the word Kaiawhina

Oral history through story telling is a form of communicating; passing down cultural traditions and teaching social protocol. The fact that Maori social and cultural histories are encapsulated in stories, is one of the main methods of archiving and teaching histories.

Maori stories and myth have been used to decipher some historical processes and make assumptions about Maori social and political processes. There is very strong evidence that a good understanding of the original meaning of words is necessary, beyond simple translation. To understand the historical lesson told by the stories, one must be familiar with the Maori culture.

Dominant cultures who only rely on a translation of words to serve a purpose may misinterpret the words to the detriment of their students. This presentation will discuss the role of kaiawhina in relation to life stories and historical events.

Understanding the kaiawhina role will assist with pastoral support of Maori nursing students.

Key words: Kaiawhina; Maori; nursing students.