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Jeanette Wikaira imageKo Hauturu te maunga
Ko Manaia te whenua
Ko te Awa Awa of Manaia te wai
Ko te Kou o Rehua te tipuna
Ko Te Tawera te hapū
Ko Ngāti Pukenga, Ngāti Tamatera me Ngāpuhi ōku iwi.
Ko Jeanette Wikaira tōku ingoa.
Tēnā koutou kātoa.

Jeanette Wikaira is a Research Fellow in the Faculty of Law at the University of Otago. She has worked in a wide range of roles within the cultural heritage and education sectors and has held university teaching and professional roles both in New Zealand and Japan. She has extensive knowledge in archival research and curatorial experience in the cultural heritage sector and has over 20 years' experience in project management and strategic development. Jeanette is currently completing doctoral studies at the University of Otago.

Research interests

Jeanette's research interest centres on the intersection of taonga Māori, mātauranga Māori and mauri ora, and the need for decolonised thinking and imagining within museums, libraries and archives in Aotearoa. Jeanette's doctoral research aims to investigate how understanding taonga through the use of Māori cultural concepts and their inherent connection to mauri ora, has the potential to support the indigenisation of collecting institutions, by reclaiming taonga as embodying ancestral knowledge with restorative and healing values for Māori communities.

In order to explore these research aims, Jeanette is investigating a unique taonga held in the British Museum, the ancestral Māori sail, Te Rā. This investigation of Te Rā will explore the Māori world view embodied within Te Rā that, when examined and understood from the context of Te Ao Māori, has the potential to restore mauri ora to Māori communities.

Jeanette is also a member of the Coastal People: Southern Skies collaboration that connects communities with world-leading, cross-discipline research to rebuild coastal ecosystems.
Coastal People: Southern Skies

Research images

Te Ra streamer with feathers image
Matairangi (streamer) with feathers on Te Rā Māori sail. Oc,NZ.147. Trustees of the British Museum.

Te Ra split brown feathers image
Split brown feathers on Te Rā Māori sail. Oc,NZ.147. Trustees of the British Museum.

Te Ra sail edge image
Te Rā sail edge. Oc,NZ.147. Trustees of the British Museum.

Te Ra full sail image
Te Rā Māori canoe sail. Oc,NZ.147. Trustees of the British Museum.


Wikaira, J. (2021). Heramaahina Eketone: About the artist. In J. Ruru & L. W. Nikora (Eds.), Ngā Kete Matauranga: Māori scholars at the research interface. (pp. 280-283). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press. [Contribution].

Ruru, J., Wanhalla, A., & Wikaira, J. (2020). Read our words: An anti-racist reading list for New Zealanders. The Spinoff, (15 June). Retrieved from

Jackson, A.-M., Rewi, T., Hakopa, H., Phillips, C., Russell, P., Parr-Brownlie, L. C., Hulbe, C., Leoni, G., Mita, N., Hepburn, C., Wikaira, J., … Elder, H. (2020). Towards building an Indigenous Science Tertiary Curriculum (Part 2). New Zealand Science Review, 76(1-2), 25-31.

Ruru, J., Wikaira, J., & Wanhalla, A. (2020). Te Takarangi: The significance of curating a sample list of Māori authorised non-fiction books. MAI Journal, 9(2), 111-120. doi: 10.20507/MAIJournal.2020.9.2.2

Wikaira, J. (2019). E kore au e ngaro, he kākano i ruia mai i Rangiātea: Tracing the whakapapa Te Rā across Te Moana Nui a Kiwa. Proceedings of the Encounters & Exchanges Conference: Exploring the History of Science, Technology & Mātauranga. Retrieved from

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