Thursday, 25 August 2011

Pluralism and the Treaty of Waitangi

In teaching week 5, you will discuss pluralism and the Treaty of Waitangi in your tutorials. Use this discussion, the notes in your ALVC book and the internet to respond to the following questions;

1. Define the term 'pluralism' using APA referencing.
a state of society in which members of diverse ethnic, racial, religious, or social groups maintain an autonomous participation in and development of their traditional culture or special interest within the confines of a common civilization”
Pluralism (retrieved 24 August 2011).

“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.”
Cultural Context: Pluralism in Art (retrieved 24 August 11).

2. How would you describe New Zealand's current dominant culture?
I think New Zealand’s current dominant culture is varied though mainly considered to be white European/Pakeha. There are many immigrants in New Zealand from other countries in Asia, Europe and Africa. The Maori Tangata Whenua culture is used for tourism purposes and in advertising and promoting New Zealand to other countries but this does not really reflect the culture of New Zaealand today.

3. Before 1840, what was New Zealand's dominant culture?
As we discussed in class, before 1840, Maoris were the dominant culture and people of New Zealand, with a population near 100,000 compared to the European settlers with around 200 people. Comparing this to today, the changes to the culture and way of life in New Zealand have been dramatic, greatly affected by the settlement of land and wars caused by new te4chnologies like the muskets that were introduced estimating to have killed 20000 Maoris due to the land disputes.

4. How does the Treaty of Waitangi relate to us all as artists and designers working in New Zealand?
It relates to us in what we call Kiwi or can associate with New Zealand and our works. We can relate to the treaty through the use of the New Zealand/Maori culture as a part of our reputation and creative process. The Maori culture is protected by the treaty yet it is used openly around the world without consideration from many. As designers and artists working in New Zealand we should be aware of what is right and wrong to use and produce in terms of abusing the Maori culture and traditions for the sake of art.

5. How can globalization be seen as having a negative effect on regional diversity in New Zealand in particular?
Globalisation according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is defined as “the act or process of globalizing : the state of being globalized; especially : the development of an increasingly integrated global economy marked especially by free trade, free flow of capital, and the tapping of cheaper foreign labour markets”.
For regional diversity within New Zealand globalisation can have a negative effect in limiting regional cultures and traditions and altering them permanently, resulting in the loss of diversity. Art and design within in New Zealand differs due to available materials and inspirations in different environments but with globalisation any material wanted can be found and inspiration from environments via travel can affect ideas and works. This results in a loss of diversity and works that are identifiable with a region or area.

6. Shane Cotton's paintings are said to examine the cultural landscape. Research Cotton's work 'Welcome'(2004) and 'Forked Tongue' (2011) to analyze what he is saying about colonialization and the Treaty of Waitangi. 
'Welcome' (2004) Shane Cotton 

'Forked Tongue'(2011) Shane Cotton

With his works, Shane Cottons weaves and obvious enquiry into the nature of entwined Maori and Pakeha cultures (Daly, 2010). He tries to combine Maori and Pakeha sources to form a hybrid poetic painting that shows the shared experience of the two cultures within New Zealand.  He questions the notion of cultural identity and the space between Maori and Pakeha perspectives. His work “has addressed historical contact” and “transitional cultural episodes” where the Maori culture has been introduced to the new settling European migrants (“Flight Paths,” 2007). Through his art Cotton reflects the changing times in New Zealand cultural landscape showing the “shift in the hierarchy of image” (“Flight Paths,” 2007) that was brought about through the colonisation. “Cotton's imagery usually carries heavy cultural weight, collapsing a lot of history into an image - a severed head means a great deal for a maoru artist whose work negotiates with colonial art and museum practices" (Mathews, 2005).

7. Tony Albert's installation 'Sorry' (2008) reflects 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. Define the term 'kitsch'.

Tony Albert’s installation ‘Sorry’ commemorates the apology on 13th February 2008 by the former Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, to Indigenous Australians for the pain they have suffered as a result of ‘past mistreatment’ by the Government of Australia (“Sorry,” 2010). In this work Albert captures the emotion of the moment with a forest of faces from Australian history showing those who had stolen from them family, land and culture. the images that make up the word ‘sorry’ show aboriginals as the white society  saw them; a part of the Australian outback and ‘landscape’ but they didn’t have to interact with. “Each represents a false identity, manufactured black faces made to fit white society” (“Tony Albert Sorry,” 2011). The installation is simply a word though, a symbolic gesture, this word taken on “face value until real change is observed” (“Sorry,” 2010). Through the work Albert wished to give imagery life, to empower the aboriginals and in a way reverse racism turn it in a positive light to remain hopeful and strong for change and a better future.

Kitsch is art (whether or not it is good art) that is deliberately designed to move us, by presenting a well-selected and perhaps much-edited version of some particularly and predictably moving aspect of our shared experience...."
Solomon, R. "On Kitsch and Sentimentality." Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 49 (Winter 1991): 1-14. Retrieved from:

8. Explain how the work of both artists relates to pluralism.
Both works relate to pluralism showing not just the dominant culture of their respective countries but the indigenous native peoples and some of their ways of life, traditions and culture. Both reflect on the past and history and how we can still see some of these elements in today’s society.
·         Flight Paths. (July 14, 2007). The Listener, issue 3505. Retrieved from:
·         Mathews, P. (August 6, 2005). Cover Story. The Listener, issue 3404. Retrieved from:
·         Daly, J. (20 July 2010). Shane Cotton paintings examine the cultural landscape.
·         Sorry. (10th September 2010).,
·         Tony Albert Sorry. Retrieved 25/8/11. Retrieved from:,


  1. I agree their works aren’t related to the dominant culture of their countries. I have never seen art work of the indigenous people like these so I think at this time more of Waitangi Day has been celebrated by the horizontal relationship in today’ New Zealand. Apparently, it is the contractual relationship of the Maori and European but it is a commitment to impress pluralism. I think the two artists have common factors but the same time their position are very different so as viewer’s feeling it is very different between them. In Tony Albert's installation 'Sorry' (2008), I think they still have distrust, their relationship is still far from the horizontal relationship.

  2. After researching I found that we have created our own dominant culture called kiwi culture because we are so diverse as a country. Things such as the All Blacks, Marmite,buzzy bee, swandris, kiwi fruit are all things we can relate too. I found tuesdays ALVC session really interesting in finding out everyones differents in opinion. I believe that that ALVC session answered question 5. I found that both Tony Albert and Shane Cottons work inspiring. Each artist drawing to the past for inspiration. Reminding us never to forget.

  3. I have to agree with you that the Maori Tangata Whenua culture in New Zealand is currently used more for tourism purposes. If this wasn't the case, I'd believe New Zealand would just be cited as another European country with not as much to offer in regards to a wider cultural experience. This would be due to the dominant European/Pakeha culture in New Zealand that you also mentioned. As designers working in New Zealand, I have to also agree with you that the Treaty of Waitangi can relate to us in regards to how we respect Maori culture in our creative processes by being aware of the right and wrong and not just abusing aspects of the culture for "the sake of art."

  4. Very nicely written. I agree with all your answers. I have a brief understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi and the 'Kiwi' culture, but I had no idea about the hard times that the Aboriginal people had to go through as well. It must have been very nice to have received the "Sorry" words from the current Prime Minister of Australia and finally hear the words that they accept responsibility for the mis-treatment of the Aboriginal People in the past. This is the first step to re-building a relationship with the Aboriginal people. It won't fix the pain from the past, but it will help to make tomorrow better.

  5. I agree with what you wrote for question four. Like everything there is always positive and negative effects and globalization is no different. After watching the video about the negative effects globalization can have on NZ identity and culture in ALVC I realised how it could be seen as a threat in some respects. A loss of diversity like you mention is definitely a negative effect, which I think globalization has on the world and possible NZ but I think it opens up too many more good possibilities like travel and sharing of knowledge and ideas.

  6. "Through the work Albert wished to give imagery life, to empower the aboriginals and in a way reverse racism turn it in a positive light to remain hopeful and strong for change and a better future." Wow, it's a different deep understanding. I can only thinke about he wants to apologize to these people, but not hope the better future. After reading your answer I think I can understand more about the work "sorry". I did some research of his work, and I found that all the pieces of the work are his own collections, and the process of the collections took him a really long time. I think it's not only a piece of art work, but also a painstaking effort, sincerity and as you said, it's a hope, and wish, to have a better future.

  7. I like your description of Shane Cotton’s work, how “he tries to combine Maori and Pakeha sources to form a hybrid poetic painting that shows the shared experience of the two cultures within New Zealand.” I think his work very much reminds me of indigenous cave paintings, how they have a narrative and tell a story based on the experiences of the artist. The thing about cave art is that some have stood the test of time, however it is not just the image that lasted, but the culture as well. I think Cotton challenges this idea of culture versus time and like you said, he “reflects the changing times in New Zealand cultural landscape.”

  8. I agree with you that the nature of New Zealand represented through international tourism is not necessarily that of what it is. New Zealand tourism agencies like to reflect upon New Zealand as being largely Maori inhabited, with marae's and big green leafy forests around every corner. This is not the case, a huge portion of our culture is made up of islanders, asians and so forth.

  9. I like what you said about the treaty relating to us as artist and designers. We are influenced by the treaty in the way we work and live, culture is as much apart of all u
    of us not just Maori's itself. Questioning which is the dominant culture in New Zealand in my opinion is rather silly, like I said in my blog we are all from some Maori and/or European decsent. Im both and I dont consider them as a seperate culture, like eden said above I think we over the years of living together created our own dominant culture.