237.231 Wk 6 Blog Task

Both Mane-Wheoki and Anderson describe how Māori visual and material culture has been framed by predominantly western accounts. Discuss this, using both readings to support your discussion (100 words).

The Western culture has predominantly framed Maori visual and material culture which is seen in modern art with minimal Maori representations. Despite this, Mane-wheoki explains that Maori art “is still categorized as, essentially, ethnographic (an individual culture)” (Mana-Wheoki,8). This influenced was believed to have happened once the Europeans colonized New Zealand, the Treaty of Waitangi which had Europeans to possess over the country’s culture including art. “…When the first Europeans arrives in New Zealand, the country possessed in its Māori art a unique native culture which the impact of civilisation was ultimately to destroy,” (Wheoki 6). Before the colonization Maori art would have been around however once New Zealand was colonized Maori art began to be changed in style. The dominancy of Europeans has separated Maori art from European art therefore minimal Maori representations were recognized in art galleries in New Zealand. The language barrier also became a factor in miscommunication at the time. The proper customs of learning the Maori culture was not properly understood by Europeans which led them to form their own representation of the Maori race.


Choose an example of 20th century art/design from anywhere in “Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History”. Upload the example to your blog and explain how the work can be considered from a Māori worldview (consider origins, customary practices etc) (100 words).


Nga Moreha
Rapira Davies, Shona. Nga Morehu. 1988. Terracotta, Flax, Wood. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington.


The 1988 sculpture ‘Nga Morehu’ by artist Shona Rapira Davies reflects on the strength, resiliance and beauty of Maori Women. The life-sized sculpture is made of terracotta, flax and wood. The terracotta figures are standing on whariki (woven flax mat) while performing the karanga. Davies displayed them with a naked female child in front of them whilst presenting the karanga. This installation is associated with the colonization of New Zealand by Europeans which every Maori is effected including women. The women performing expresses the strength and spirit that they all attain as Maoris. As the child who speaks of the future watches them, indicates that they are sharing their traditions and values to the next generation as women also significant to the Maori culture. In the western point of view this work may be seen as a learning display of a Maori ritual culture by women. However, in the Maori worldview it displays the Maori women’s striking and honorable ways demonstrating their strength and beauty. Despite the colonization impact of pain, grief, things hidden and lost particularly on women this sculpture also acknowledges salvation and the future of Maori culture and New Zealand.


Works Cited:

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



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