Beyond the Dusky Maiden records Pasifika women’s experiences of working in higher education in Aotearoa New Zealand. Using a navigational metaphor this dissertation maps the storms within higher education that are slowing down Pasifika people’s journey to success. This dissertation identifies six promising practices for enabling faster change in higher education whilst also considering the hidden conversations that are necessary to identify why institutions need to change. This dissertation recognises the neo-liberal and colonial foundations of higher education and how they contribute to a white masculine imprint that enables and enforces excess labour, non-performative diversity, infantilization, hyper-surveillance, lateral violence, and sexual assault. This dissertation records Pasifika women’s encounters with the white masculine imprint as they attempt to transform higher education institutions. Pasifika women share their methods for survival in higher education spaces in spite of patterns of exclusion.
To record Pasifika women’s journey’s this research introduces the masi methodology. The masi methodology centres Pacific/Pasifika women’s voices within the research process ensuring that they are seen as the experts on their own experiences. The Pacific research method of talanoa, a narrative enquiry developed from Pacific people’s oratory tradition is used to engage with twenty-seven Pasifika women about their experiences working in higher education in Aotearoa New Zealand.