In both Mane-Wheoki, Art Histories in Aotearoa and Anderson, Tangata Whenua the idea that Maori visual and material culture has been framed predominantly by western accounts becomes very clear. Much Maori Art or art involving Maori lifestyle began to be produced after 1840 around the time of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. New Zealand Art history books and exhibitions involve Pakeha interpretations of Maori lifestyle and people and the majority of this doesn’t date back earlier than European settlement in New Zealand. Maori Art is often not Art by Maori people but Art from a Pakehas perspective of Maori people.
This pencil 1983 drawing shows night and the earth mother. The image showing mother and an unborn child, Te Po and Papatuanuku is by Robyn Kahukiwa who is a prominent Maori Artist in New Zealand. The Maori shapes and designs that cover her and her unborn child represent their Maori culture and Tikanga. Papatuanuku is the earth mother who gives birth to all living things. In this drawing, she has her eyes closed and is alone in the night. Using Maori worldview, this image could be seen to represent the birth of anything within NZ. Papatuanuku and her unborn child wearing the Maori culture soon to give birth to all living things that live in New Zealand.
Tangata Whenua – Atholl Anderson, Judith Binney, Aroha Harris Mane-Wheoki, J. (2011). Art’s Histories in Aotearoa New Zealand.
In 1839, A plan was made by Europeans to travel to New Zealand and create a “great future colony in an abundant and temperate environment.” (179, Belich, James) Peaceful conquest of the Maori was promised and European type laws and government would be set in place once a treaty had been signed. Some questions arose regarding whether migration to NZ was a good idea but plans went through anyway. The British believe full sovereignty of New Zealand was agreed in 1840 although there were some miscommunications through translation. Settlers worked from 1840-1860 to create a New New Zealand under European rule and abiding by European laws. There were many issues for Maori communities after the arrival of The Europeans and quality of life plummeted for the New Zealand natives. Although peaceful conquest was promised, what they received was somewhat opposite.
Dick Whytes lecture spoke about the mapping of New Zealand and this was a European technique. Places in NZ were given English names although they already had names. This was another attempt to overtake Maori authority. The names New Zealand and Aotearoa were later introduced after British colonisation. New Zealand became a country so that Europeans could legally take over governorship. After the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, the Maori flag was immediately replaced with the union jack which doesn’t include Maori culture at all.
Belich, James. “Chapter 8: Empire?”. Making Peoples: A History of the New Zealanders, from Polynesian Settlement to the End of the Nineteenth Century. Hawai’i: University of Hawai’i Press, 2001.
Mana combines authority, power, and prestige. Different people or objects within a group can have varying levels of Mana and this can come from ancestors, age within families and skills/contributions made to a certain group. Mana is somewhat supernatural and people or things with high levels of mana are generally leaders or prized possessions within communities. Mana as part of Tikanga Maori would be applied to art and design through stories the artist has to communicate and the lifestyle they lived. Maori people used carvings as a way to tell stories and a individuals Mana would play a large contribution to the stories they had to tell and their motive behind the artwork they were creating. Objects that held strong Mana were prized and held great importance to their owners often because of stories associated with them or journeys they had undertaken.2. Intellectual property and copyright laws are insufficient to address the misuse of Taonga Work as they do not cover the protection of Kaitiaki relationship with Taonga Works. The crown have argued that New Zealand IP laws sufficiently cover Maori interest and allowing Maori special rights would result in others restrained innovation and could change access to knowledge which could inspire the creation of new work. Taonga Works involve Matauranga Maori and Tikanga Maori where New Zealand copyright and IP laws don’t at all which is extremely evident when work is being used in a culturally insensitive or offensive manner.
Tangata Whenua. Atholl Anderson, Judith Binney, Aroha Harris Kawharu, H. (1989). The Treaty of Waitangi translated from Māori into modern English with notes Taonga Works and Intellectual Property (2011) in Ko Aotearoa Tēnei – A Report into Claims Concerning New Zealand Law and Policy Affecting Māori Culture and Identity Walker, R. (1990). Tauiwi.
The piece of art I have chosen is a carved haumi and dates back to the 1500’s. This haumi was used to protect the canoe prow from incoming waves and was discovered in Waitore in 1975. During the 1500’s due to colonisation and the influx of different cultural influence, it is clear to see who created certain artworks and who each piece was influenced by through examination of carving techniques. By this time the East Polynesian influence on carving had evolved and Maori art was becoming identifiable with its spiral forms and bands of lines creating a distinctive curvilinear style. A small slightly curved chisel would have been used to create this piece. The decoration of a large piece such as this communicates the transitions Maori people were undertaking. The carvings tell stories and show interesting outside influence but also forms similar the late Maori era.
Tangata Whenua. Atholl Anderson, Judith Binney, Aroha Anderson
This image of a pare (lintel) carved from wood which was discovered between Kaitaia and Ahipara. It embodies Atholl Anderson’s first chapter proving all the different influences and techniques from different people and cultures around the pacific have come together to influence the creation of this one wood carving. The early Maori artwork made from local wood contains similarities to Easter Island figurines, New Zealand chevroned amulets and contains central east Polynesian associations. Because of it’s large differences to traditional Maori art some people even thought it to be artwork from Melanesio-Polynesians who occupied that are of New Zealand in the earth tenth century. Throughout chapter One of Tangata Whenua the timeline of who arrived in NZ and other islands of the pacific is discussed and this early carving provides evidence of several different techniques , cultural influence and similarities to Pacific art involved. The carving was discovered in 1920 and but we are yet to know when it was created.
Tangata Whenua. Atholl Anderson, Judith Binney, Aroha Harris Mead, Hirini Moko. “Chapter 2: Ngā Pūtake o te Tikanga – Underlying Principles And Values”. Tikanga Māori: Living By Māori Values. Aotearoa: Huia Publishers, 2003.