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Defiant Memory and the Infrastructure of Intimacy: The Thriving Homes of Māori Jews in Aotearoa, New Zealand

Hadas Ore


Social research since the 1980s demonstrates the resurgence of interest in whakapapa and growing recognition in the importance of whānau for the affirmation of being Māori in contemporary Aotearoa, New Zealand. Analysing memories of home, this paper integrates the latest development in the theory of home and nostalgia with empirical data from social psychology on the well-being of contemporary Māori Jews. The data is based on open-end, in-depth interviews with twenty-one Māori Jews between the ages of eighteen
and sixty-seven years old, highlighting relationship with whakapapa through funerary practices and food. It demonstrates that contemporary Māori Jews express longing for home and intimacy as well as ambivalence, pain and grief as they critique home. In their lived relationships with whakapapa the Māori Jews in this study employ defiant memory to resist the intergenerational racial
tension within their whānau. In this way, they constitute their infrastructure of intimacy and ameliorate their well-being.


Māori Jews; home, defiant memory, well-being, racism, intimacy

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