Te Mauri - Pimatisiwin

Māori women’s perspectives of leadership and wellbeing

Stacey Ruru, Maree Roche, Waikaremoana Waitoki

Abstract

Within Aotearoa, New Zealand, Māori women are engaged in leadership roles in community and professional workplace settings, however little is known about how they maintain their wellbeing. This research sought to unravel how Māori women leaders maintain their wellbeing, while occupied in complex leadership roles. We report on the findings from semi-structured interviews, acknowledging kaupapa Māori theory and principles, with five Māori women leaders. Thematic analysis was used, and these themes related to five whakataukī (proverb) that provided overarching themes and directions relating to Māori women’s leadership and wellbeing.

Each whakataukī describe unique aspects of leadership and wellbeing from a Māori worldview. Themes include humility, collectiveness, courage, future orientations and positivity. While the themes are housed in whakataukī, central to the success of these Māori women leaders was being connected to whānau (family) and friends, and being influenced by tamariki (children), tauira (students) and employees. These social connections made Māori women leaders strong and resilient to change and challenges.

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