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The ontological and active possibilities of 'Papatuanuku': to nurture or enframe?


The philosopher that one chooses to engage with is indeed most useful when he or she brings one's focus to those aspects of colonisation that dwell in the dark recesses of the indigenous self. It is highly unlikely that colonisation is as overt as the indigenous self is urged to believe. Most likely, few of us buy into that particular artifice; as colonised communities, we are far too familiar with the pervasiveness of colonisation to be so gullible. Undoubtedly far more authentic than that illusory edict is the call to indigenous peoples to respond to the full depths of colonisation, incomprehensible in a full sense as it is. This summons to attention is silent but--and as indigenous peoples we would understand this--no less vocal for all that. It thus insists on speculative thought and encourages a lack of certainty in that exercise. For indigenous peoples, this originary thinking is linked immediately with the driving together of all things so that they converge as a primordial entity.

I am concerned in this article with this act of thinking through a display of the Maori entity and term 'Papatuanuku'. Papatuanuku exceeds our knowledge and is most often thought of as meaning something like 'Earth Mother'. In abbreviated form as 'Papa' she becomes part of one's thoughts and activity by being incorporated within certain words.

Na, mo te kupu 'papa', he kupu nui tenei i te reo Maori ... He tikanga nui hoki i roto, a, e takea katoatia ana i a Papatuanuku. Ara, ahakoa puta ai tenei kupu ki whea, kei te takea mai i a Papatuanuku, ka tu ranei a Papatuanuku hei tauira mo te whakaputanga o te kupu 'papa' nei. [And so, the word 'papa' is an important one in the Maori language. It contains to it some vital philosophical aspects; these are fully undergirded with Papatuanuku. That is, regardless of where this word emerges, it has its basis in Papatuanuku, or Papatuanuku stands within the sign of 'papa']. (Royal, 2008, p. 68, author's translation)

One Maori term that is underscored by Papatuanuku in this way is 'raupapa'. My aim in selecting this word is to theorise on how Papatuanuku herself can be negatively influenced by a preodained expectation of how she will manifest, by referring to the works of Martin Heidegger. If there is one overriding caution of Heidegger's, whom I choose to refer to in this article, it lies in his critique of the acceptance of orthodoxy: in fact, he is so intent on critiquing philosophical deprivation in the West that he chooses to address it at the earliest possible opportunity in his Being and Time, when he laments "that which the ancient philosophers found continually disturbing as something obscure and hidden has taken on a clarity and self-evidence such that if anyone continues to ask about it he is charged with an error of method" (Heidegger, 1967, p. 21). By amalgamating his critique of technology's essence with my own Maori concerns, I signal 'raupapa' as a term that carries with it the infinitude of Papatuanuku and that may offer the same warning as Heidegger's 'enframing'. It is often used in relation to an autonomous sequencing or setting in order; from a Maori philosophical vantage point, it immediately invokes the Being of Papatuanuku due to her own presence in the term. This inherent location of Papatuanuku calls for a philosophising around what can occur with the sequencing or setting in order in a context of modernity.

Papatuanuku: Primordial Being

What is perhaps most confusing for such writers as Adomo (2001), who argued for metaphysics being an abstraction, is that Maori metaphysics is not primarily a theoretical discipline. Maori thought posits metaphysics as primordial beings that are participatory in voidness (Mika, 2012) as much as presence. On the basis of the self-organisation of those entities, things appear; the study of how those things appear, or phenomenology (Smith, 2008) as it is often called, is thus dependent on that first substance that, in turn, is constructed by nothingness. The phenomenological and metaphysical are hence linked, and constructing theories about metaphysics and the resulting appearance of things comprises a primordial entity that will also have a whakapapa (genealogy) with other things in the world. The metaphysics of Maori hence places an emphasis on the deeply connected nature of things in the world. Writers such as Marsden (2003) and Pere (1982) have earlier explained this connection, and highlight that we need to speculate more on the consequences of that holistic proposition.

Maori have a concept of Being that is culturally embedded within a Maori metaphysics. One of the words that Marsden (2003) uses to convey the idea of becoming and Being, or the movement of a thing towards its ultimate (but utterly interconnected, and hence non-foundational) goal is 'Papatuanuku'. The name Papatuanuku is one that refers to Being, both solid and active. This energetic yet essential embeddedness shows itself in a performative, Maori view of language, for instance, where a noun is also at once an active entity. A term is in a constant state of movement. It is thus an entity alongside being pure energetic diffusion throughout everything. Language in that sense is intimately connected with its object; terms become unstable subjects of becoming because they co-construct with the object they refer to. Papatuanuku is not alone here; another Maori metaphysical term, 'Korekore', carries a strong sense of what Novalis (1960) has called the Absolute, which is productive and nihilistic--overly negative such that it takes on positive qualities (Marsden, 2003). In creation metaphysics, korekore precedes 'pouri', which refers to a kind of gloom or sadness. Those familiar with Heidegger's (1998) highly controversial maxim "the nothing noths" (p. 39, author's trans.) will discern a similar and unusual aspect about korekore with its simultaneous negative and positive traits, through its doubling of the idea of 'nothing'. The paradox in the term evokes an emotional response in the self, joining as it does with the uncertainty inherent to the everyday perception of an object.

Papatuanuku: The Constructing Phenomenon

The name Papatuanuku stands out, though, because it most commonly refers to Earth Mother, an entity frequently acknowledged in indigenous ceremony and literature. Earth Mother is the source of all and provides sustenance as a thing attains its outcome. She unifies all things in the world, and if we were to discuss the entity of Earth Mother in as full a way as possible, we might say that she is a self-arranging, autonomous but simultaneously inherent agency. In Maori oratory, it is generally necessary to speak directly to her as a matter of respect and perhaps even as an acknowledgement that she is the source of language, oratorical or otherwise. Papatuanuku can be linked to an earthly aspect, and relates the Maori self with her solid manifestation whenua (land)--which gives rise to everything and, importantly, eternally refers things back to herself.

Alongside that active nature of Papatuanuku is her linguistic and essential significance. The 'Papa' component of it forms the basis of some quite abstract words, and in those terms and their ability to reveal material aspects of the world there is an immediate influence of Papatuanuku, not just as an ideal but as a real figure. The precise reasons that Maori chose to incorporate Papatuanuku into these other terms is unclear, but I suggest that Maori wished to emphasise that a human perception or activity originates in the first instance from without. It may be, too, that Papatuanuku is so thoroughly important to certain abstract concepts that she must be mentioned expressly in them. The incorporation of Papatuanuku into particular terms may therefore also be a call to ethical behaviour in relation to an activity. This ethics gravitates towards the representation of a phenomenon as holistically located, not as isolable in a Cartesian sense. The latter is certainly a possibility in any form of expression, including in traditional contexts, but Maori may have actively cautioned against it, especially with a backdrop of holism. Papatuanuku as Earth Mother is present within thought as a manifesting and withdrawing phenomenon--indeed, as we shall see, is responsible for human perception to begin with--and her incorporation within other forms in language urges the self to be vigilant in all matters of expression. In its most brash sense, we could define the issue in the following way: Papatuanuku defines the template which gives (or should give) rise to a holistic representation of the world, and part of this characteristic insists on some respect in how she is made present on everyday terms, not just in creation metaphysics or ceremonial language.

Heidegger: A critique of self-willingness and the primordial

The place of Heidegger in an indigenous discussion

The phenomenological discussion of Papatuanuku that I have just offered may be critiqued as too removed from the everyday world: too abstract and overarching. In part, that accusation is valid because there is a novel but nevertheless traditionalist voice at work in it, one that has not yet accounted for the peculiarities of colonisation. At this point, we could either continue down the path of theorising in that voice and hopefully--eventually--move over into a counter-colonial register, or else more abruptly disrupt the persistent refrain of philosophical colonisation, even just momentarily, by engaging with an unexpected source. The unexpected source is productive as a sheer other sound, destabilising the potentially self-assured timbre of acceptable, conventional and traditionalist discourse. When viewed in that light, the Western philosopher is the most likely candidate for discordance because they are, apparently (Mika, 2014), diametrically opposed in most respects to the indigenous philosopher. This opposition would seem to be an immediate and unnegotiable one.

Yet we may be underestimating the critical Western philosopher in that judgement. On the contrary, they could have something quite important to say for indigenous peoples. In the Maori context, the need for a fresh critique of colonisation is ongoing and urgent, and it is in the area of colonisation that a Western philosopher may be most helpful. Some Maori scholars have subtly but steadily drawn on Western theory to either augment or develop their Maori responses--Linda Tuhiwai Smith (1999), Alison Green (2011) and Te Kawehau Hoskins (2010) are three examples--showing a Maori awareness that there is a use for the Western theorist. The point to be made here is that, on occasion, the Western philosopher may resonate more with a Maori critique of colonisation than was first expected.

Mika (2014) has argued from a Maori perspective that an entire philosopher and their cultural milieu accompany an argument, not just their ideas. This suggestion highlights that the way in which the indigenous writer reconciles the incorporation of a Western argument is most important. For the Maori academic, the world can be moved in subtle ways through how it is represented, and the expression of a thing is important for a number of reasons. This exercise is a subjective one in a Maori worldview, because it relies on an interpretation of what might be called in English the All. The self, a thing and its infinite connection with other things, and Papatuanuku resonate with how an entity is represented. In a freer positing of Papa, what is most incredible is that things manifest at all, not that they have certain fixed properties that make them up. Referring back to the key aim of this article: I seek to use Heidegger's thoughts to illuminate or 'push' (Mika, 2014) my own thinking as a Maori writer on what could be a Maori answer to enframing, which is an important concept in the colonisation and influence of the a priori. Thus, Heidegger is extremely useful in how he illuminates areas of concerns for my own thinking. My thinking, I argue, is galvanised by him but is not restrained by him. The resulting representation that Mika speaks of is inherently Maori yet influenced from without.

In what follows, I focus on Heidegger's critical response to colonisation, although he does also make interesting proactive comments about the nature of Being. As I have noted, Being for Maori is related to entity, activity and voidness. It also represents a critical ability of the self at the same time as referring to a traditional entity. Being is a concern of the self and is constructive of that concern. In a broad sense, the Maori academic is tasked with the responsibility of thinking about Being as a counter-colonial reply of some sort (critical), and as an entity that gives that ability to reply (traditional). In what follows, I focus on the former, with some ability to make reference back to the latter way of sublime representation that has existed for millennia. What comes to the fore in my thinking is Heidegger's excoriating attack on modernity. He signposts a way for my own writing both within and on behalf of the very subject of this article--Papatuanuku.

The essence of technology: Enframing

I aver that to focus on a traditional idea of Papatuanuku is to ignore the criticality she occasionally provides us. We stymie the full potential of Papatuanuku in that act. For Heidegger, this convenient referral of an object to something manageable is not incidental as it fits well with a modernist agenda. But one cannot see this process that instinctively leads to the reduction of the object. Heidegger calls this phenomenon 'Gestell', or enframing. It is akin to a membrane that sits behind modernist eyes but is so influential because it preordains everything in the world as orderable. For Heidegger, danger is not in technology as such but in its essence. The practice of Gestell is also important to the fixed process of categorisation. In the challenging-forth that Heidegger asserts is characteristic of modern technology, mankind's propensity is to sort things into categories. When they do not fit into established categories they are then made to fit. Reminiscent of the static, permanent nature of metaphysics, "we 'enframe' things by turning them into instances--understanding them in terms of the objective properties attributed to members of the category to which they have been allocated" (Bonnett, 2002, p. 234).

Although Gestell reveals, as did techne for the ancient Greeks, it is of a kind that predetermines the place and fit of materials. Mankind becomes numb to the enframing internal to this kind of revealing. But at this point Heidegger undertakes a difficult explanation of the word essence. He argues that Gestell is the essence of technology, but explains that essence is not the kind that is usually thought of--that is, the common underpinning to a number of phenomena. Instead, essence is an action which is an enduring. That which endures is Gestell; it endures because it is a destining of challenging revealing. Its complicity with the word 'wahren' (to last, or to grant) in German suggest that it endures to the extent that it is granted to endure. Somewhat mysteriously, Heidegger (1977b, p. 31) maintains, with his own emphasis, that "[o]nly what is granted endures. That which endures primally out of the earliest beginning is what grants". Paradoxically, because of this primal origin of what grants the enduring power of enframing, there is also a 'saving power'.

All these facets of technology must be read in relation to the illumination and concealing of Being. Technology was not always engaged with treating reality so that it could be managed through humanity's representation of it. However, when Being withdraws, according to Michael Zimmerman (1978), then objects are represented as useful. Similarly, modern technology, which Heidegger argues is the outcome of Western metaphysics, represents man as just another form of availability. Heidegger (2001) expresses some concern that humanity is not aware that no god any longer "gathers men and things unto himself, visibly and unequivocally, and by such gathering disposes the world's history and man's sojourn to it" (p. 89). By this he implies that technology or its essence provides everything that humanity thinks it needs; it has become so omnipresent that, like a god, it appears to hide. But in fact technology does not make itself absent; technology stays present by over-revealing itself, albeit not as a man's god. Thus Heidegger can say that "technology itself prevents any experience of its nature. For while it is developing its own self to the full, it develops in the sciences a kind of knowing that is debarred from ever entering into the realm of the essential nature of technology" (ibid, p. 115).

Related to humanity's tendency to objectify and to place the self as the subject, we are likewise unable to enter into the realm of nature that is non-objectified because we are self-asserting everything. As Heidegger (2001) describes:
   What has long since been threatening man with death, and indeed
   with the death of his own nature, is the unconditional character of
   mere willing in the sense of purposeful self-assertion in
   everything. What threatens man in his very nature is the willed
   view that man, by the peaceful release, transformation, storage,
   and channelling of the energies of physical nature, could render
   the human condition, man's being, tolerable for everybody and happy
   in all respects. But the peace of this peacefulness is merely the
   undisturbed continuing relentlessness of the fury of self-assertion
   which is resolutely self-reliant. (p. 114)

In other words, humanity's involvement in nature to the extent that it can be levelled and ordered keeps man from a holistic experience of nature. The self-assertion that Heidegger refers to is beyond individual will, as it involves being with a venture that is held before the individual, and determined by the individual. A kind of will toward nature, it involves not moving with nature but with a venture that involves nature. What is brought out into view is nature, but what brings nature into view is the 'positioning' which forms representation. Thus nature is brought before humanity in a very specific way. Within this specific way, "mankind sets the world over toward himself and delivers nature over toward himself' (Heidegger, 1977a, p. 288, author's trans.). If an aspect of nature does not match a venture built on representation, then man sets it in order accordingly. But in the first instance, proposing something before ourselves is to expose it. What Heidegger (2001) calls the Open, which is the "the great whole of all that is unbounded" (p. 104), is twisted around to meet the view of the human being. Another consequence of selfishness towards things, the Open is set up against the world. The predetermination of the Open against the world Heidegger calls 'willing'.

The image we get from Heidegger's writings about the essence of technology is that our particular regard for the world is always already in the thrall of self-assertion. In other words we have already determined a particular, initial regard for the world. Heidegger (2001, p. 108) can say that "[t]he willing of which we speak here is the putting-through, the self-assertion, whose purpose has already posited the world as the whole of producible goods". The objectifying regard for the world, together with the drive to produce, coalesce into a unity so that an aspect of command appears. The unity that Heidegger speaks of would seem to be everywhere in the regard; all that can appear is the command which seeks to represent nature in terms of producible goods. In such a view of nature, according to Heidegger, we are caught up in a way of relating to nature which is based on calculative thinking. There is a type of Being in calculative thinking, but it is a Being which depicts a "framework of instrumental relationships" (Bonnett, 2002, p. 234) and which allows things to appear as their meaning and significance for us. Gestell thus ensnares us, according to Heidegger, despite our belief that we are asserting the will to dominate. We are inclined toward the world in a mode which ventures necessarily with technology.

It is useful at this point to consider Heidegger's etymological explanation for the word 'technology'. Heidegger indicates that there were three phases in western history which came to determine a change in the notion of 'techne' (Lambeir, 2002). Firstly, in the ancient Greek sense, it involved a practical knowledge. It then evolved to mean 'factory production' so that humans became workers. Lastly, as Lambeir states, the production forms a part of a theoretical framework which deals with systems and is involved with meeting needs and the feeding of desire. In Heidegger's justification for these interpretations of techne he points out that 'technology', which derives from techne, belongs to bringing-forth, to 'poiesis'. Even more vital, however, techne was linked with 'episteme', where both terms referred to knowing in the broadest way: "[t]hey mean to be entirely at home in something, to understand and be expert in it" (Heidegger, 1977b, p. 13). Moreover, "[s]uch knowing provides an opening up" (ibid). Thus it is also a revealing: "Technology is a mode of revealing. Technology comes to presence in the realm where revealing and unconcealment take place, where aletheia, truth, happens" (ibid).

Technology is still a form of revealing. In the ancient sense, however, at least until the time of Plato, techne meant above all to reveal or open up material in a traditional fashion so that it could show itself in its inherent character. Heidegger (2001, p. 41) is worth quoting at length here:
   Standing there, the building rests on the rocky ground. This
   resting of the work draws up out of the rock of the mystery of that
   rock's clumsy yet spontaneous support. Standing there, the building
   holds its ground against the storm raging above it and so first
   makes the storm itself manifest in its violence. The luster and
   gleam of the stone, though itself apparently glowing only by the
   grace of the sun, yet first brings to light the light of the day,
   the breadth of the sky, the darkness of the night. The
   steadfastness of the work contrasts with the surge of the surf....
   Tree and grass, eagle and bull, snake and cricket first enter into
   their distinctive shapes and thus come to appear as what they are.
   The Greeks early called this emerging and rising in itself and in
   all things phusis. It clears and illuminates, also, that on which
   and in which man bases his dwelling. We call this ground the earth.
   What this word says is not to be associated with the idea of a mass
   of matter deposited somewhere, or with the merely astronomical idea
   of a planet. Earth is that whence the arising brings back and
   shelters everything that arises without violation. In the things
   that arise, earth is present as the sheltering agent.

Heidegger is making use of poiesis in his quotation, trying to explain how things rightfully emerge and essence. The building is imbued with earth, sky, and the support that those things provide. It is, in a sense, man's role to be regardful of that interdependence, and thus him or herself be open to the entire sway of Being, where things reveal themselves in their proper surroundings. The building and all its participating entities deliver the storm to its context, too. In ways reminiscent of the profound claim of Papatuanuku on all things, 'Earth' is that which gives rise to all and at the same time calls the all back. This tension further calls to our regard, so that we are in the thrall of the manifestation of things in their rightful context. Modernity, on the other hand, enframes things so that they are brought into a standing reserve and can be viewed as resources. Things are forced to conform to mankind's will; material is not so much revealed so that it will display its own character as challenged or imposed on as a means of being made into an object.

A Return to Papatuanuku: Potential (and Enframing) in 'raupapa'

Above all, a reading of Heidegger's philosophies on enframing as a speculation about a priori matters invites a metaphysical discussion in a Maori context. Let us now turn to consider one of the Maori terms that inherently carries with it a meaning of Papatuanuku. 'Raupapa', can resonate with enframing a la Heidegger, pointing to a tendency to order through its component 'rau'. When taken together with Papa, the overall idea relates to the ordering or molding of how things are to appear to us as they emerge from a primordial ground. This autonomous orientation towards a thing is hence related to the poiesis that Heidegger mentions, with the thing able to be uncovered because of Papa's revelation of that thing to the self. This displaying of things that Papatuanuku decides to engage with occurs because of the self's continuous relationship with her. One uncovers the thing, allows it to presence, through the most fundamental interconnection between self, thing and Papatuanuku. This constant process of accrual (one potential of 'whakapapa' which, the reader will observe, also shares immediately in Papatuanuku), claims the self so that the self becomes aware of the thing. Papatuanuku, the originary ground, allows for the coming to being of something and brings the self to awareness and speculation on that thing as a form of 'kaupapa' (or crux for debate and thought).

Papa is an especially important component of raupapa because the latter term suggests that the template of perception is influenced by her. Raupapa itself cannot be experienced in this interpretation because Papatuanuku is not fully a solid entity and has an influence on the self beyond tangibility. In our discussion about a Maori ontology, this a priori nature of Papa shows in the difficulty in our grasp of language to describe it. The order/discipline that raupapa indicates is hence contingent on some sort of unintentional working with Papatuanuku, operating within that overall obscurity. There is a mode of orientation towards things in the world involved with Papa, amongst which there can be representation of a thing through language. A Maori ontological approach to things in the world requires a critique, drawing on the language of the academy, of the common views of colonisation. In reality, however, a deeper excavation into the metaphysical problem of colonisation that this critique would reveal is hindered by the already evident role of language. Unfortunately, because the plain meanings of terms obstruct the self, there are consequences for things that are material concerns of the terms. They are continuously readily referenced and used by humanity.

Heidegger's proposition that Being itself is subverted towards its revelation as an enframable entity has potential for similar ideas in the Maori tradition. At this point we encounter the enframing aspect of raupapa itself. 'Raupapa' has not been officially defined as enframing as Heidegger would have it, but with its inclusion of Papa a different complexion is lent to it quite apart from its usual, banal sense of ordering. With an enframing focus of raupapa, there is a fixing of the ground to begin with, including of the language that the self may draw on to describe it. Expected to become a thoroughly solid, certain entity without any other aspect to it, Papa is put in its place in advance. We might be tempted to equate the categorisation that science engages with, instrumentalist language, the lack of translatability from Maori to English in policy documents and so on, as the central problem, but this would be to confuse technology with its essence, as Heidegger has warned against. Instead, what becomes important in the essential interpretation of raupapa-as-enframing is the tightening of Papatuanuku as the most fundamental perceptual schema of things in the world. The conditioning of perception that we are talking about here, then, is one that Heidegger (1967) described as an object being 'present at hand', in his critique of the metaphysics of presence, and of the tendency of modernity to insist that things manifest in a tightly prescribed way.

From a Maori worldview, the issue of this innermost perceptual template is complex but is necessary to describe to hint at its implications. Because it cannot actually be experienced as a sensible object, there is a temptation to dismiss it as an abstract phenomenon. For Maori, however, every thought is substantially an entity, with 'whakaaro' (thought) and 'ahua' (form) sharing a genealogy (Royal, 2012). As much as any other thing in the world, each thought has its autonomy, although it will interact with all other things in the world. Like those other things, it is paradoxically both thoroughly negative and positive, and thus might be thought in different terms to the Western Being/being difference that Heidegger bemoans. In similar fashion to other things in the world, a thought orients towards the world, influencing the latter and allowing it to both arise and withdraw. To this extent, the a priori, as Heidegger himself argues, is far from merely abstract.

Where Maori would differ from him quite markedly, however, is in their proposition that thought takes on attributes to the same extent as humans. In other words, they are our relations. Here we meet a direct contradiction with the Descartes that Heidegger describes, because Maori were more concerned with representing Papatuanuku as if she were present within their utterances rather than somehow removed from them, or thrown in front of them, as they represented aspects of the world. Moreover, Maori philosophy embeds the self as immediately existing within Papatuanuku and has no place for radical doubt. This rejection of Descartes comes in broad terms from some indigenous writers such as Oskal (2008) and Wildcat (2001), with the latter deeply concerned that "[t]o doubt one's own existence seems not only unreasonable but suggestive of serious illness within indigenous worldviews" (p. 50). Such orientation towards the world is influential in an almost bodily sense, and it has the potential to either harm or heal. In the problem of raupapa-as-enframing, the formerly free, self-governing (but related) non/entity is proposed as what we intend it to be--a self-evident object--and this preordained thought disallows us from acting in concert with the primordial Papatuanuku. If one is forced to view the object as highly positive despite one's cultural metaphysics, as symmetrically equivalent with our expectations and without any interconnection or backdrop, then a state of trauma may arise. Proposed as the sole arbiter of the world, the self-assertive self is barred from recognising the thing as mysterious, uncertain and, ultimately, mutually constructive and sustaining.

Objects (and these may indeed be abstract) in that scenario are no longer our relations but can be inquired into. As Heidegger warns, the danger rests in not recognising the very source of that trouble. A complete description of the standing reserve of Heidegger in a Maori context is well beyond the scope of this article, but most generally it can be described as the more visible institutional and discursive practices of colonisation that oppress Maori. These provide concrete examples of the cultural, philosophical shift that can occur through the enframing of Papa. They occur at all times throughout one's colonised experience, including in discourses involving one's health and educational progress, through the mechanisms that divested Maori of much of their land, language and wellbeing. In academia they may be tied up in research projects as useful data or simply without life; in health they are proposed as lifeless disease; in law they can be humans who are viewed as capable of a certain behaviour. Knowledge itself becomes about a field of obtainable goods rather than much more fundamentally comprising living entities that are the manifestation and continuation of Papatuanuku. Objects for knowledge can be cajoled at will out of their natural connection with other things in the world so that they do form knowledge. Where Maori believed that objects in the world could speak (Moon 2003), for instance, now they are silenced in preference of being utilised in specific arrangements by those involved in the enframing process. In short, humanity decides where they will go and who does the speaking for them.


The permanence that Heidegger argues is necessary for the constituent parts of an object has only been made possible through the dominance of a philosophy of enframing and thoroughgoing presence. For Maori, the overlap of this philosophy with a traditional respect for what is not present is evident but the beginning and finishing borders of both those distinctive philosophical traditions are not easily discernible. Moreover, a challenge exists for the Maori (and, generally, indigenous) scholar in identifying the very basis of colonisation. Heidegger suggests that even the current calculative word 'technology' is complicit with Being; similarly the ground (Papa) that enables colonised philosophy to be identified will reveal and conceal itself, thus rendering a fully clarified colonisation at best fleeting. 'Raupapa' offers a possible mechanism through which to view the murkiness of colonisation as it exists in its most essential form, but it also calls for a Maori assessment of the phenomenon of enframing. For the Maori writer, the disruption to comfortable text explaining colonisation can come in the form of the Western philosopher: in that destabilising guise the latter can assist, but should not foreclose, Maori thinking. For the Maori countercolonialist who wishes to refer to the Western philosopher, the challenge lies in retaining the integrity of Maori perception (and the integrity of Papatuanuku) even as he or she maintains close contact with modernity and its enframing in that thoughtful act.


University of Waikato


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CARL TE HIRA MIKA is a senior lecturer at the University of Waikato. He is of the Tuhourangi and Ngati Whanaunga tribes. He has a background in legal studies and practice, indigenous and Maori studies, and German Romanticism and phenomenology. His current areas of research are into the role that Western philosophy has to play in both colonial and counter-colonial thought for indigenous peoples.
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Author:Mika, Carl
Publication:Knowledge Cultures
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:May 1, 2016
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