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Wilma Robinson

Doctor of Philosophy, (Social Anthropology)
Study Completed: 2006
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Belonging: Pakeha Women's Practices in Aotearoa New Zealand .

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Dr Robinson investigated practices of belonging among a small number of Pakeha women living in Whanganui, an Aotearoa New Zealand provincial city. Acknowledging the participants’ settler origins through British or European ancestry, she explored their belonging using a range of qualitative methods. With a strong emphasis on participatory techniques and visual engagement, she concluded that these women actively enabled their belonging using a variety of practices, evident in everyday life. Dr Robinson conveyed her understanding of their practices by using a botanical metaphor, that of the rhizome, to describe the complexity of belonging. Extending the metaphor enabled a deeper understanding of the nature of belonging as textured, layered, multiple, mutable, flexible and extended. Her research revealed belonging as an evolving process, influenced by past practices, the Aotearoa New Zealand environment and Pacific culture. It also indicated how tangential Maori collective activities were in the everyday experience of the participants.

Associate Professor Sita Venkateswar
Dr M Rudge