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Te Ara Hohou Rongo (The Path to Peace): Maori Conceptualisations of Inter-group Forgiveness.

Rata, Arama
June 4, 2015

Source: (2008) New Zealand Joumai of Psychology. 37(2):18-30.

A reasonable body of psychological research focusing on forgiveness in
interpersonal contexts has highlighted its benefits to psychological wellbeing
(McCullouch, 2001; Enright, 2001; Murray, 2002), However, much of
the existing literature has been sampled from Western populations, and has
focused on forgiveness at the individual level. As a result, the conclusions
drawn from such studies may not generalise well to group-level forgiveness,
and may not be equally applicable across cultures. The present study
investigated an indigenous perspective on forgiveness at the individual
and group levels. We conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews with
10 Maori (the indigenous people of New Zealand). Rongo {demonstration
of commitment to restore relationships), whakapapa (interconnectedness
between people, places, and events overtime forming identity) and kaupapa
(agenda set based on the costs and benefits of forgiveness) were identified
as core themes using thematic analysis. Forgiveness was seen as a
collective social process, and as an outcome requiring commitment from
both the victim and the transgressor to maintaining their relationship. In
the context of Maori- Päkehä relationships, it was felt that genuine remorse
and commitment to transgress no more had not been achieved, and that
honest communication was lacking. In such a context where colonization
was seen as on-going, most interviewees felt that forgiveness was costly and
inappropriate. The findings provided insights into the perceived usefulness
of forgiveness in an ongoing conflict, and processes through which group
relations could be improved. (author’s abstract)


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