Hybrid identities: Maori Italians challenging racism and the Maori/Pakeha binary

Adalgisa Giorgio, Carla Houkamau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Downloads (Pure)


New Zealand’s indigenous Māori were colonized by British settlers (now called Pākehā). Scant systematic investigation addresses bicultural/biracial identity for Māori who identify with further ethnic groups other than Pākehā. Taking a narrative approach and applying thematic analysis, this paper explores interviews with forty-four Māori-Italians, a cohort seldom sampled, conducted in New Zealand in 2013. We show how Māori-Italians negotiate the challenge of constructing positive ethnic identities in a milieu where historically ethnic hybridity has been defined primarily in relation to the Māori/Pākehā colonial encounter. Focusing on racism and stigma, we demonstrate that Māori-Italians run a gauntlet of identity challenges shaped by socio-political contexts. Conversely, Māori-Italians draw from both Māori and Italian identities to buffer discrimination from Māori, Pākehā, and Italians. Our analysis reveals a multiplicity of interpretations of Māori-Italian identity not widely articulated in social psychology or New Zealand literature, and shows the need to expand paradigms of Māori identity to incorporate ethnic hybridity beyond the Māori/Pākehā binary.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)20-43
Number of pages24
JournalSocial Identities
Issue number1
Early online date21 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020
EventScontri e incontri: the dynamics of Italian transcultural exchanges: 9th Biennial Conference of the Australasian Centre for Italian Studies (ACIS) - Monash Prato Centre, Prato, Italy
Duration: 4 Jul 20177 Jul 2017
http://monash.it/events/acis2017 ; http://monash.it/events/acis2017/program


  • hybridity
  • ethnic identity
  • racism
  • indigenous psychology
  • Māori identity
  • Māori-Italian identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Hybrid identities: Maori Italians challenging racism and the Maori/Pakeha binary'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this