Free Event: Nurturing Masculinity in Polynesian Men

What does it mean to be a Māori or Polynesian male in Aotearoa New Zealand today? How is that shaped?

  • UC Connect

Phillip Borell

University of Canterbury, Senior Lecturer Dr Phil Borell (Ngāti Ranginui, Pirirākau)

In his upcoming, free Tauhere UC Connect public lecture at the University of Canterbury, Senior Lecturer Dr Phil Borell (Ngāti Ranginui, Pirirākau) will discuss views of Polynesian masculinity and enduring stereotypes of the Polynesian male.

His important kōrero, titled Run it straight: Towards a nurturing masculinity in Polynesian men, is free to attend in person at the University of Canterbury and will be livestreamed on the University’s Facebook page on Wednesday evening, 15 March.

In his public talk, Dr Borell will discuss how Polynesian masculine identities are constantly evolving.

“However, certain historical narratives have prioritised particular views of what Polynesian masculinities might be. There are many enduring stereotypes of the Polynesian male; from the naked warrior that embodies the noble savage trope, the infamous Jake ‘the Muss’ Heke character from Alan Duff’s Once Were Warriors book and film series, and the supremely charismatic athletes whose ‘natural’ flair and talent supersede any form of hard work, or agency,” he says.

A common thread among these accepted Polynesian masculine archetypes is physicality, he says.

“Polynesian masculine identity has long been accepted as one of physiological differences: strength, speed and size. However, there is growing need to re-examine what masculine identity means to contemporary Polynesian men.”

This kōrero will challenge existing stereotypes of Polynesian masculinity through the pūrākau (stories) of several Polynesian National Rugby League (NRL) players while moving toward a theory of nurturing masculinity.

  • The year 2023 marks the University of Canterbury’s sesquicentenary and the 150th anniversary theme is: Ka titiro whakamuri, ki te anga whakamua | Guided by the Past, Shaping the Future.

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