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This thesis adopts an analytical approach to Moana research from a “Pacific Studies” perspective, focusing as it does on Moana languages and Moana indigenous knowledge. From this perspective it analyses and discusses the imposition of Western paradigms in Moana research and in Moana language, both historically and currently. It argues that Western ideas, concepts and practice are often assumed to be appropriate rather than what they are, that is, a Western imposition, and that this form of imposition is not just to be found in research methodologies, but in the systematic application of Western paradigms to all aspects of understanding Moana cultures, including current understandings of the fuo (“form”), uho (“content”) and ‘aonga (“function”) of Moana languages. As both a theoretical and practical example of appropriate Moana research, that is, where both theory and methodology arise from within, in an “inside-out” approach, this thesis develops Māhina’s General Tā-Vā Theory of Reality, with the addition of the Hypothesis of Laumālie, as well as indigenous Moana methodology such as the Metaphor of Kakala, the Metaphor of Noʻoʻanga and Moana research processes such as tālanoa, in the study of Tongan Faiva. To do this it also analyses the impact of imposing a Western paradigm on Moana languages and discusses the Moana concepts that are still contained within vocabularies associated with Tongan Faiva. It takes a more analytical approach than do previous studies on Tongan Faiva and conceptualizes the fuo (“form”), uho (“content”) and ‘aonga (“function”) of Faiva within a broader and more holistic Tongan social matrix. This thesis proposes the need for a systematic de-programming and de-colonizing of Moana research and the development of a new and comprehensive Moana paradigm as an essential task. It argues that this should be done through a process of adopting both culturally appropriate methodological approaches in researching and culturally appropriate theoretical models in approaching and interpreting knowledge as found in indigenous Moana cultures.

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