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Pre-literate Māori knowledge frameworks as post-literacy strategies

Updated: Nov 2, 2022

This paper looks at the use of traditional Māori knowledge frameworks as valid approaches to tackle contemporary information challenges. It suggests the application of indigenous models of knowledge and information structures to a contemporary context where existing models of information communication appear to be failing.


Post-literacy and secondary orality theories are introduced, and presented as potential sources for strategies that help literacy disadvantaged communities navigate the modern world. The marae, Kaupapa Māori and Mātauranga Māori are all modern information frameworks for Māori, and are indicators of possible connections between pre-literate Māori culture and an anticipated post-literacy. The post-literate application of concepts of whakapapa (a hands-on and collaborative non-linear approach to knowledge) and waiata (knowledge and history passed on through song) are examined.


Although not necessarily compatible with Western taxonomies and approaches, it could well be that information and communication strategies from pre-literate societies will be the guide for the future. If this is true, it may also well be that historically literacy disadvantaged communities will have an edge that they have long needed.



Mā te whakaaro kotahi ka ora ai. The cohesion of perspectives will strengthen the kaupapa (Animoa, n.d).


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