It is our pleasure to congratulate Christine Ngā Hau Elers for successfully defending her powerfully transformative dissertation, “Theorising Māori health and wellbeing in a whakapapa paradigm: Voices from the margins” with flying colours, passing without amendments. The dissertation was co-supervised by Professors Mohan Dutta and Helen Moewaka-Barnes.
The external reviewers, Distinguished Professor Graham Hingagaroa Smith, Professor Debashish Munshi, and Professor Shaunak Sastry commented about the brilliance of the work and the intervention it creates in the world at the intersections of Kaupapa Māori and the CCA. They noted the depth of the generative narratives emergent from her engaged scholarship, the rigour of her research design, and the theoretical robustness of the conceptual framework emergent from the scholarship. Distinguished Professor Graham Hingagaroa Smith pointed to the pathbreaking nature of the dissertation in opening up pathways for addressing health disparities and addressing upstream structural determinants of health.
Christine is the first Māori wāhine and Indigenous scholar-activist to have led and completed a dissertation that brings the decolonising register of the CCA in dialogue with Kaupapa Māori.
Writing from within an Indigenous land struggle that she participated in with her body, she demonstrates with her dissertation what it means to theorize with her body on the line. All three reviewers commented on the concept of authenticity as a theoretical contribution that grows out of her work, and that is depicted powerfully in the methods through which she engages the dissertation.
Celebrating the dissertation, noted Professor Dutta, “Personally, I learned over the last four years from Christine what it means to struggle with integrity against a settler colonial structure that shapes the vastly unequal health outcomes. She undertook multiple layers of challenges and faced them with courage as she undertook the journey of listening to Māori voices that are systematically erased by the settler colonial structure.”
We at CARE are proud of you Christine and proud of your work that demonstrates the organising role of Indigenous communication in building infrastructures for social justice and resisting climate colonialism.