Week 11 Task

Atea as a concept is about the ‘coming together of ideas’. It is about joining in a shared discourse of ideas while being aware of your unique worldview.

Shand, Rosa. Flora. 2016. PVC, polyester, various flowers.

In my Dress studio I made a wearable garment based on the ‘Lamp Mygdal‘, a lamp which allows plants to grow without natural light. A discussion with Pip, led me to discover a shared love for long lasting flora. This, we agreed, stemmed from both of us having previously lived in areas surrounded by the sea and nature and was a ‘coping mechanism for living in such an urban environment. In Wellington, both of us live in dark, sterile places. For Pip, this was a windowless bedroom and for me this was an inwards facing flat on the bottom floor of the cube. My garment, constructed from PVC and flowers was about the relationship between humans, our increasingly urbanised world and how encounters with nature can impact our collective identity.

As a female designing with another female in mind, gender was inherently an aspect of my work. Whether or not it was consciously considered at the time of its creation is something I am now questioning. At a glance, the garment is very feminine looking, designed and made by a female, for a female and modelled by a female. The piece itself appears female not only through the form but through the use of flowers which are often associated with femininity, growth and fertility. Following Erna Stachl’s lecture and having read the works of Ani Mikaere and Linda Tuhiwai-Smith, my understanding of the intersection of gender and indigeneity has developed. Previously aware of the patriarchal values of Western society, I had not considered the idea of the impact of colonisation of gender roles on Maori women.

Week 10 Task

Eight minutes away from Mt. Roskill I sit in the mezzanine of a hall awash with over 50 years of conservative tradition. A ‘multicultural’ community sits before me, something I’m aware of thanks to a year eight social studies class on ‘the melting pot’. For years, this was the peak of my enlightenment to the nature of race relations in New Zealand. Beyond the ‘the melting pot’, my understanding of cultural identities in New Zealand stemmed largely from opportunities to join school ‘cultural groups’. Doing so involved performing once at Polyfest and ensuring you had a co-curricular under the ‘cultural’ section of your school report.

An enlightening history department had begun to make up for years of eurocentric education through the thorough teachings of New Zealand history, unravelling the westernised ideologies so prevalent in the institution they work for.

At the end of Maori language week 2015, a member of the senior management team took it upon herself to learn a line of Maori to recite to the school. Somewhat of a performance, she stumbled her way through the phrase, through unfamiliar sounds, ‘daring’ us to learn a phrase ourselves.

Those of us who had begun to understand the whiteness of the institution that had taught us so much, cringed as we watched from the mezzanine. The event was raised as a point of discussion with our history teacher. This token attempt at promoting Maori culture had only served to highlight it’s painful absence from the school culture.

I realised that from the institution which had taught me so much, I had also learned from what it didn’t teach me. While unfamiliar with the term at the time, I realised I had learned the significant part a school has to play in instilling ideologies and teaching you, what it wants to about the world outside its walls.

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Cauchi, Ben. Tiki. 2002. Photograph on gold toned paper 380 x 430 mm. Massey University Art Collection, n.p.

 

Week 9 Task

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Parekowhai, Michael. Kapa Haka (Pakaka). 2004. Automotive paint on fibreglass. Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland.

‘Kapa Haka’, by Michael Parekowhai is a comment on racial stereotypes of Maori in New Zealand. Stereotypes prevalent in this work relate to Melanie Wall’s theory of current stereotypes having evolved from colonial stereotypes. This piece consists of 15 life-size fibre glass models of Parekowhai’s brother. The piece intends to comment on the stereotype of Maori as large, strong and often seen in jobs as security guards or bouncers (Auckland Art Gallery). By portraying this stereotype Parekowhai is playing on Wall’s ‘Natural Athlete’ stereotype stemming from Maori being described in colonial times as ‘savage’. Parekowhai comments on the irony that while in these positions of protection as bouncers or security they are often protecting white wealth while working for minimum wage (Te Ara). By naming this piece ‘Kapa Haka’ it links it back to positive affirmations of Maori culture and ideas of protection, identity and culture (Auckland Art Gallery).

References:

“Kapa Haka (Pakaka).” Auckland Art Gallery. Auckland Council, n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2016.

Mark Derby, ‘Māori humour – te whakakata – Māori humour in the 2000s’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Web. 08 Oct. 2016.

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References:

Higgins, R., & Moorfield, J., (2004). Ngā tikanga o te marae. In Ki te Whaiao: An Introduction to Māori Culture and Society. Auckland: Pearson Education New Zealand Limited, pp.73-74.

Week 8 Task

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Westra, Ans. Washday at the Pa. 1964. Te Papa, Wellington.

Washday at the Pa, a children’s book by Ans Westra was an example of a representation of poverty or wealth in Aotearoa used in Dr. Greg Gilbert’s lecture. Washday at the Pa consisted of photographs depicting the lives of a rural Maori family. When published in 1964, a period of rapid change to Maori lifestyles with many making the move to the cities, it’s launch was ‘caught up in a force field of competing and antagonistic readings’ (McDonald 76). This book caused a great deal of controversy due to accusations of stereotyping rural Maori families as ‘poor’. Another reason for contention was due to the fact that Maori were being represented by a Pakeha. This stereotype was perceived by the Maori Women’s Welfare League as dangerous due to the implications that all rural Maori were unable to provide for themselves (Gilbert).

Resources:

Gilbert, Greg, Dr. “Economic Inequality in Aotearoa and the Role of Art and Design.” Massey University, Wellington. 23 Sept. 2016. Lecture.

McDonald, Lawrence. Camera Antipode: Ans Westra: Photography as a Form of Ethnographic & Historical Writing: A Dissertation Presented in Partial Fulfilment of the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Social Anthropology Programme, School of People, Environment & Planning, Massey University, Manawatu. Thesis. 2012. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

Timeline:

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Week 7 Task

The difference between Western and Pacific methodologies is explained by Thaman who says that most of what is referred to as Pacific studies is essentially the result of Western research (Thaman 3). Therefore there are often conflicting interests and purposes that can influence this research. An encounter between a western researcher and a person from the pacific is not ‘an encounter between equals’ and the worldview of the western researcher is likely to influence his perception of what he observes (Thaman 3).

The image of the Pacific as a tempting paradise has long been engrained into Western minds (Vercoe 36). Tourism, Hollywood and artists have contributed to this fantasy image. However, this image manages to erase the darker side of Pacific history, of colonisation and nuclear testing. Artists have attempted to represent this ‘tangled arena of encounter, conquest and assimilation’ (Vercoe 46). Brett Graham’s work ‘Bravo Bikini’ comments on the paradox of the word ‘bikini’. On the one hand, a two piece swimsuit allowing maximum exposure to the sun and on the other, a place of environmental devastation and cost to human life (Vercoe 39).

The Dawn Raids details the shamefully recent period of New Zealand history in which Pacific people were the subject of explicit racism in the mid 70s (Fepulea’i,). Following World War II, a thriving economy and shortage of labour led to the encouragement of Pacific people to move to New Zealand. Many Pacific people were allowed to live in New Zealand illegally due to a need for labour. However, when the economy started to fall, these people were suddenly the targets of a campaign to deport any overstayers in New Zealand. During this campaign Pacific people became the subject of explicit racial targeting and discrimination which ‘traumatised the entire community’ (Fepulea’i,).

Fepulea’i, Damon. “The Dawn Raids.” The Dawn Raids. Isola Productions. 2005. Television.

Thaman, Konai Helu. “Decolonizing Pacific Studies: Indigenous Perspectives, Knowledge, and Wisdom in Higher Education.” The Contemporary Pacific 15.1 (2003): 1-17. Web.

Vercoe, C.,(2004), The Many Faces of Paradise. In Paradise now? : contemporary art from the Pacific. (pp. 35-47). Auckland, N. Z. : David Bateman in association with Asia Society, 2004.

Week 6 Task

Part 1:

Maori visual culture has been generalised despite restrictions preventing a thorough understanding. Historically, observation was limited by geographic location and language barriers which prevented the understanding of ‘intricate’ concepts (Anderson 132). These recordings ‘hardly constitute a balanced picture’ (Anderson 132). Recorded through a Eurocentric world view, Maori visual culture has historically been dismissed as ethnographic artefacts as opposed to art in the Western sense (Mane-Wheoki 8). An exhibition of customary Maori art recontextualised Maori visual and material culture when shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (Mane-Wheoki 7). Whether or not the distinction between ‘art’ and ‘Maori art’ needs to be made is a contested issue.

Works cited:

Anderson, Atholl. “In the Foreign Gaze.” Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History. New Zealand: Bridget Williams Books, 2012. 132-162. Print.

Wheoki, Jonathan Mane. “Art’s Histories in Aotearoa in New Zealand.” Journal of Art Historiography 4 (2011): 1-12. PDF.

Part 2:

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This 1980 poster was designed to promote the study of te reo. As Maori language is traditionally oral, it is an integral part of Maori culture. This poster holds historical significance – the Native Schools Act 1867 introduced schools for Maori children with a policy of assimilation and a primary goal of teaching english (Binney 294). These laws were described by Claudia Orange as ‘the most serious attack on the vitality of Maori life (Orange 98). Therefore this poster symbolises the fact while political independence was lost, Maori identity and cultural autonomy survived the impact of Europe (Belich 22).

Works cited:

Belich, James, ‘Myth, Race and Identity in New Zealand’, New Zealand Journal of History, 31(1), April 1997

O’Malley, Vincent, and Alan Ward. “Chapter 10 The Land and the People.”Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History. By Judith Binney. New Zealand: Bridget Williams, 2012. 286-318. Print.

Orange, Claudia. An Illustrated History of the Treaty of Waitangi. Wellington, N.Z.: Bridget Williams, 2004. Print.

Sinclair, Keith. The Oxford Illustrated History of NZ. N.p.: Oxford UP, 1994. Print.

Week 5 Task

Part 1:

James Belich differentiates between nominal and substantive sovereignty discussing  changes in power between Maori and Pakeha in the years between 1830-1867. Belich emphasises that while British sovereignty was claimed with the signing of the Treaty in 1840, this was merely nominal. Substantive sovereignty wasn’t achieved until 1860 (Belich 181). This opposes the orthodox, Eurocentric narrative of New Zealand history which portrays Maori as the victim of fatal impact (Belich 197). Belich accounts the colonial office’s decision to form a treaty as a consequence of the myth of empire (Belich 187). Essentially Belich argues against fatal impact theory by showing that through five different versions of the Treaty, Maori (though not all) accepted British in New Zealand through acceptance of agents of state, land sales and the signing of the treaty. Maori essentially held substantive sovereignty until 1860 (Belich 181). However, the British gradually undermined Maori power through conquest, swamping and conversion through Europeanisation and subordination (192).

Resources:

Belich, James. “Chapter 8 Empire?” Making Peoples: A History of the New Zealanders, from Polynesian Settlement to the End of the Nineteenth Century. Honolulu: U of Hawai’i, 1996. 179-203. Print.

Part 2:

The Treaty of Waitangi allowed the British to establish their own concept of New Zealand as a nation or ‘imagined community’ (Whyte). This is visually represented in our flag which excludes Maori through the use of the Union Jack (Whyte). The predominant use of blue as opposed to red which Maori associate with symbolises ongoing inequality between races established by the treaty (Whyte).

Resources:

Whyte, Dick. “Aotearoa, Colonisation and Visual Culture.” Conversations in Creative Cultures. Massey University, Wellington. Aug. 2016. Lecture.

 

Week 4 Task

The term ‘tapu’ refers to a concept ever present in Tikanga. Established in Maori religious thought, the concept is inseparable from mana (Mead 30). The term relates to the idea of sacredness, respect and restriction (Te Ara).  The ideals and values relating to tapu are no longer clear. Regardless, tapu is extremely significant and meaningful to Tikanga today. Closely linked to mana and therefore respect, it is important to consider tapu in an art/design context to prevent issues of cultural appropriation. As the values of tapu are not explicit, an artist or designer referencing Maori culture would have to research thoroughly to ensure their practice did not breach tapu.

Intellectual property and copyright laws are insufficient to address the misuse of taonga works due to the difference in Maori and Western ideas of ownership and property. What Westerners view as ownership, a concept we are largely familiar with, Kaitiakitanga view as responsibility, obligation and kinship (Waitangi Tribunal 34). Issues then arise when the Maori concept of ‘ownership’ does not fit with the conditions of copyright law, in particular having to be ‘written, recorded or fixed in some material form’ (Waitangi Tribunal 35). As a lot of mātauranga Maori is in the form of oral traditions this does not comply with conditions of copyright law.

References:

Mead, Hirini Moko. Chapter 2: Ngā Pūtake o te Tikanga – Underlying Principles And Values. Tikanga Māori: Living By Māori Values. Aotearoa: Huia Publishers, 2003. 25-34. Print.

New Zealand. Waitangi Tribunal. Ko Aotearoa Tenei: Te Taumata Tuatahi : A Report into Claims Concerning New Zealand Law and Policy Affecting Maori Culture and Identity. Rep. N.p.: Legislation Direct, 2011. Print.

Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal. Te Ao Mārama – the natural world – Mana, tapu and mauri, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, 22-Sep-12
URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/te-ao-marama-the-natural-world/page-5

Week 3 Task

IMG_5677This is a pounamu (greenstone) hei tiki. This hei tiki is made from kahurangi, one of the rarest types of greenstone (Anderson 94). It is a green colour with moments of brilliant green and has a translucent quality.

This pounamu is from the traditional era (AD 1500 – 1769), also referenced as Te Puawaitanga – the flowering (AD 1500-1800) by Hirini Moko Mead. This artefact relates to its place in New Zealand’s art historical period through its portrayal of status and mana. The traditional phase sparked demand for items which were representative of wealth and status (Anderson 91). This demand was most likely caused by the increasing population growth which subsequently led to competition and territoriality among tribes (Anderson 91).

A specific aspect of this artefact which relates to its art historical period is the material it is made out of. Pounamu was a ‘scarce luxury good’ found on the west coast in Te Waipounamu (Anderson 91). Therefore, this artefact was likely created out of the demand for items which were representative of wealth and status. The artefact conveys this wealth and status through not only its material but the skill shown in the carving.

References:

Harris, Atholl Anderson, Judith Binney and Harris, Aroha. Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History. Wellington: Bridget Williams, 2014. Print.

237.131 Week 2 Task

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This image is of a tōtara wood carving. Its significance is based largely on the ambiguity of its style allowing us to understand the convergence of cultures in New Zealand at the time of its creation. The carving, thought to be a lintel or part of a gateway references multiple cultural design aspects (Anderson 37). Discovered between Kaitāia and Ahipara, the carving resonates with the high shouldered Easter Island figurines shown to Captain James Cook in East Polynesia (Anderson 37). The carving also resonates with the Maori style of chevroned amulets (Anderson 37). This carving in particular resembles a Maori carving found in Whangamumu of a squatting human figure (Anderson 37). This similarity is important as it allows us to place the carving in a particular time and understand more about the dynamic interchange of culture that was occurring. From analysing the two cultural design elements meeting, we can place the carving in the middle centuries of the pre-European era due to its resemblance to the chevron style of the time (Anderson 37). This merging of two visual cultures is symbolic of the withstanding of similarities between Maori and East Polynesian social organisation through to the early contact period of Maori and Pakeha.

References:

Harris, Atholl Anderson, Judith Binney and Harris, Aroha. Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History. Wellington: Bridget Williams, 2014. Print.