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HIST327 Interpreting Māori Lives: Rebels, Radicals and Reformers

The representation of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Māori leaders through popular culture, including biography, autobiography, novels and other media.

From prophets to political leaders, sports personalities to entertainers, this course examines a range of Māori men and women who have been the subject of biographical and popular writings. We examine why Māori leaders have been cast as 'rebels', 'radicals' and 'reformers' and how Māori have challenged these representations through autobiography, and other media, including novels and film, as part of a wider push to decolonise the historical past. A key focus of this paper is the development of writing and research skills through a biographical research project based on archives held in Dunedin.

HIST327 is a practical research-based paper organised around a mix of lectures, workshops and practicums. It is essential for students who major in History and want to develop their research skills. Those who plan on honours in History are strongly encouraged to take this paper. It also complements studies in a wide range of subjects, including Māori Studies, Indigenous Studies, Sociology, Politics, and Anthropology.

Paper title Interpreting Māori Lives: Rebels, Radicals and Reformers
Paper code HIST327
Subject History
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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36 200-level points
Schedule C
Arts and Music
(i) May not be credited together with HIST333 passed in 2006 or 2007. (ii) Students who have not passed the normal prerequisite may be admitted with approval from the Head of Department.

Professor Angela Wanhalla -

Teaching staff

Co-ordinator and Lecturer - Professor Angela Wanhalla

Course materials will be made available electronically.
Course outline

Available via Blackboard.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Communication, Critical thinking.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will:

  • Demonstrate broad knowledge of nineteenth and twentieth century Māori history
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the main themes and debates in Māori history
  • Evaluate popular and academic biographical writings of historical figures
  • Evaluate the different modes, approaches and theories of biography and autobiography
  • Gain proficiency in written and oral communication skills

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 10:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41