Thursday, 16 August 2012

Pluralism and the Treaty of Waitangi

"The Treaty of Waitangi was signed on February 6, 1840, at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands. Forty-three Northland Chiefs signed the treaty on that day. Over 500 Maori Chiefs signed it as it was taken around the country during the next eight months." (

'The Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi' (1938) Marcus King

Questions from the Cadi Blog:  

I. Define the term 'pluralism' using APA referencing
According to Caldwell (1999): 

      Pluralism in art refers to the nature of artforms and artists as diverse. The cultural 
      context of art is all encompassing in its respect for the art of the world's cultures. 
      Inclusion of individuals of differing ethnicities, genders, ideologies, abilities, ages,   
      religions, economic status and educational levels is valued. Pluralism honours 
      differences within and between equitable groups while seeing their commonalities. 
      (para. 1).

II. How would you describe New Zealand's current dominant culture?
New Zealand is quite culturally diverse compared to other countries but is still quite centered around the New Zealand European Western culture; especially their views and ideas in society. However, other cultures have influence this Western culture in New Zealand like the Maori people, who was part of New Zealand historical culture. Other cultures like Polynesians and Asians who are immigrating to the country have also shared their culture with New Zealand. 

III. Before 1840, what was New Zealand's dominant culture?
Before 1840, the dominant culture in New Zealand was Maori. At the time the population were mostly Maori, with a few European settlers who were whalers, sealers, and missionaries.

IV. How does the Treaty of Waitangi relate to us all as artists and designers working
in New Zealand?
Without the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand wouldn't be so culturally diverse as it is today. The Treaty of Waitangi relates to artist and designers in way that it allows them to have the freedom to express what they want in their works, like a freedom of speech and opinions. Because of this multicultural country, artist and designers of New Zealand can draw inspirations from a range of cultures and express them to their liking. 

V. How can globalization be seen as having a negative effect on 'regional diversity' that leads to a 'homogenized world culture' in New Zealand in particular? 
According to Rouse (2007):

      Globalization is the tendency of businesses, technologies, or philosophies to spread 
      throughout the world, or the process of making this happen. The global economy is 
      sometimes referred to as a 'globality', characterized as a totally interconnected 
      marketplace, unhampered by time zones or national boundaries. (para. 1)

Globalization has a negative effect on New Zealand because it exposes the culture to foreign cultures and societies. Expanding products and services like movies, music, and publications can affect and change our culture, traditions and values. New Zealand in particular is already slowly losing their Maori identity. As New Zealand is being more exposed to other cultures and becoming more 'mainstream', fewer Maori are speaking in their language. Language, or Te Reo Maori, has always been important for the Maori people. Because New Zealand is becoming more 'homogenized', the language is becoming an inconvenience. This affects hugely the next generation of Maori who will not be able to speak their language well enough to carry on the culture.

VI. Shane Cotton's paintings are said to examine the cultural landscape. Research Cotton's work 'Welcome' (2004) and 'Three quarter view ' (2005) to analyze what he is saying about colonialization and the Treaty of Waitangi. 

'Welcome' (2004) Shane Cotton
'Three-quarter View' (2005) Shane Cotton

In 'Welcome' (2004) by Cotton, we see the Western Christianity symbol of Jesus Christ and the Maori's head of an ancestor. This relates to the Treaty of Waitangi because its shows two important spiritual symbols of both cultures. Putting these two icons on a page with New Zealand's fantails in between, in a way it resembles New Zealand's split culture. 

'Three-quarter View' (2005) is dominated by the portrait of 19th century British flax trader, Barnet Burns. Burns is a very interesting figure for Cotton to use because Burns physically transformed himself to live with the Maori people in 1830. Cotton's techniques completely takes away all of Burns 'Englishness', only with a small hint of connection from the Goldfinch; a symbol of Western culture's Christianity. The moko on Burns' face and the cosmic targets represents the Maori culture.

These works of Cotton's explores how the Treaty of Waitangi have influenced both cultures and how colonization have created a question in identity. Cotton also questions further the importance of the space between both cultures and where one finds themselves in that space. 

VII. Tony Albert's installation 'Sorry' (2008) reflect the effects of colonization on the aboriginal people of Australia. Research the work and comment on what Albert is communicating through his work, and what he is referring to. Describe the materials that Albert uses on this installation and say what he hopes his work can achieve. 

'Sorry' (2008) Tony Albert

Albert's 'Sorry' is an artwork that was used to commemorate the apology made by the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, on 13th February, 2008 to the aboriginal people of Australia for 'past mistreatment'.

Albert still questions the representation of the aboriginal people through souvenirs. Most of these 'kitsch' items that Albert has collected are made by Western people to appeal to the mainstream Western society. They are manufactured, they are not what the culture truly are. By placing them on this text it is almost like he is bringing history and the aboriginal people back to the white world. Even though the works represents the emotions and sadness of the aboriginal people, its not a true representation of the culture.

The text shows the apology made by Rudd, but there is still real change in society to be made.

VIII. Define the term 'kitsch'. 
According to Rugg (2002):

      Yet, despite its status as a source of pleasure for a mass audience, kitsch is typically 
      considered a negative product and used as a pejorative statement. It is seen as a type 
      of creation that reaffirms rather than challenges the collective norm, a source of sheer 
      entertainment in opposition to the elevated perception generated by high art. (para. 1)

Kitsch can be used to describe things that are tacky, tasteless, and poor quality. Originate from German which means 'trash'.  

IX. Explain how the work of both artists relates to pluralism. 
Cotton and Albert's works both relates to pluralism because both artists' works contains more than one culture. Cotton uses the Maori culture with New Zealand European to show the history of New Zealand and what the Treaty of Waitangi have left for the future generations. Albert uses aboriginal souvenirs to show the apology of Europeans for what they have done to the aboriginal culture and what is still needed to be done. Neither artists' work has a dominant aspect or culture in their works. Both artist looks at what is important between the spaces of both cultures, and how this will continue on for the cultures in the future.  


AUT University. (2012). Academic literacies in visual communications 2: Resource book.
      Auckland, New Zealand: Lyceum Press for AUT University.

Lai, J. C. (2010). Maori culture in the modern world: Its creation, appropriation and trade.
      Retrieved from

Nationalgalleryaus. (2010, December 16). 87 149998 - Shane Cotton 'three-quarter view'
      2005 [Video file]. Retrieved from

Queenslandartgallery. (2010, December 20). Tony Albert 21st century: Art in the first 
      decade [Video file]. Retrieved from

Te Wiata, J. E. (2006). A local Aotearoa New Zealand investigation of the contribution of 
      Maori cultural knowledges to Pakeha identity and counselling practices (Master thesis, 
      The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand). Retrieved from

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