Posts Tagged 'Maori'

Do Digital Māori Dream of Virtual Marae? – Guest Post by Nikolas Brocklehurst

Kia ora,

digital marae

Marae depicted is ‘Wharenui’ by Ɲ

Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (1968) post-apocalyptic tale explores questions of how we deal with technology and if we are able to bestow it the same values that we ourselves (attempt to) uphold. Now, we may not be quite at that level of philosophical conundrum but we are  integrating technologies  into our existence like never before.

The Internet is such a technology; once seen as something separate from our ‘real’ lives, today more and more of us seem as if we are  incapable of living our ‘real’ lives without it.

In Aotearoa, Māori are leading the digital charge in a number of ways, including mobile Internet uptake and social networking. There has been a considerable amount of research into Māori use of the Internet over the years. Early on, these focused on establishing an authentic presence online predicated on Māori taking an authoritative role. In part, this was to address the misinformation and misappropriation that was occurring. But more so, it was also to stake a claim for Māori in the global digital landscape. More recent developments have sought to transfer Māori values and practices into the digital realm, transforming the online space to fit Māori knowledge and needs, rather than the other way round. This research has produced and recognised numerous successful initiatives and programmes. However, they have also highlighted the challenges faced when transferring cultural practices and values on to the Internet. This has proved particularly so for items placed in the public forum such as those on museum and gallery websites, which may attract a global audience that are not necessarily aware of culturally appropriate actions.

My name is Nikolas Brocklehurst and I am currently undertaking a Masters in Visual and Material Culture, Massey University Wellington. My thesis, entitled, Māori Culture at the digital interface: A study of the visual portrayal of cultural identity in the online environment, is set to examine how Māori cultural identity is being expressed visually online and if the use of digital technologies has enabled new ways to articulate Māori identity. By looking at the way Māori are visually portraying their culture online I am attempting to find the space were both culture and the technology have come to terms with each other. By examining Māori visual culture in digital realms, I ask how have Māori practices and values been influenced, and how have digital technologies been integrated into Māori visual culture.

The purpose of this study is to gather a picture of how Māori are portraying themselves and to use this information to inform museological practice. Now, Māori are far from a homogeneous group, and I will not attempt to create an all-encompassing vision. Rather, I aim to capture a moment in time for a number of individuals when the Internet is increasingly becoming an authentic place for Māori cultural identity.

In order to help me achieve this I have written an online questionnaire, Ipurangi Māoritanga regarding Māori experiences and practices on the Internet. Additionally, as part of my research I would like to bring together a number of focus groups and discuss the issues, benefits, challenges and successes of using the Internet as a place cultural practice.

Nga mihi


He aha te kai o te rangatira? Guest Blogger Puawai Cairns

Kia ora koutou,

He mihi paku tēnei ki a koutou, ki ngā kaimahi me ngā kaitiaki o ngā taonga me ngā pakiwaitara Māori ki roto i ngā whare taonga o te motu.

Ko Ngāīterangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Pūkenga ngā iwi. Ko Puawai Cairns ahau, tēnā anō koutou katoa.


I was asked to write a blog in anticipation of the upcoming Kāhui Kaitiaki Māori hui (11-13th October 2013, Kohupātiki Marae, Clive Hawkes Bay).  If I manage to make it to Hastings, it will be my third Kaitiaki hui. The most recent was only this April in Hamilton, a one-day adjunct to the MA13 conference and I think there were about 30 of us assembled at Waikato Museum.  There were lots of new faces and what was so heartening was the surprising number of young kaimahi Māori. I managed to finally meet up with Manaaki Pene from Rotorua Museum and we swapped ‘How we got into museum work’ stories. When I swap these ‘origins kinds of stories with other museum workers, there is always a common maniacally enthusiastic theme of ‘I REALLY wanted to work in a museum and would work for free if I had to’ (I adore the ‘crazy’ in kaimahi). Unfortunately for the Hamilton gathering, we weren’t introduced to each other or given much opportunity to have a group exchange, which I would have very much loved. And there were some really interesting papers presented, especially laying down for our benefit, the history of Māori engagement in NZ museums as kaimahi and as source communities. But while these stories were and are important, it felt that much of the focus of the meeting was very much looking into the past, which seemed a little bit like a lost opportunity when surveying the crowd that was there to listen. So I left that meeting feeling unresolved, as if I could have taken much more away than I did.

A Māori Challenge  Christmas card, 'With the Compliments of the Season'; circa 1900s; A. D. Willis Purchased 1995 Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa collection

A Māori Challenge
Christmas card, ‘With the Compliments of the Season’; circa 1900s; A. D. Willis
Purchased 1995
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa collection

When we were swallowed up the next day by the many more attendees at MA13, I was also disappointed when the MA13 panels over the following few days separated Leadership and Bicultural Leadership into two separate sessions.  If bicultural relationships are truly important to museums in Aotearoa,  I would have loved to have seen non-Māori kaitiaki attending the Kaitiaki Māori meeting to share their ideas on that first day (as well as being able to have known who everyone was); and for Bicultural Leadership in the MA13 Conference firmly embedded in any discussions about Leadership. Mixing it up, engaging with each other, sharing ideas and, if necessary, have some furious debates.

So what am I hoping for at this next meeting?

A rousing welcome to our King's representative at Waitangi

“A rousing welcome to our King’s Representative at Waitangi: Warriors of the Te Arawa tribe performing a haka.”
Showing the welcome to the Governor General Lord Bledisloe and the Vice Regal party at Waitangi during the 1934 commemorative celebrations for the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. 6 Feb 1934
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 7-A14690

  • Meeting lots of haati new faces from around the country as well as reconnect with old friends, and especially to hear the different projects that are in progress around the motu.
  • Encouraging attendance and participation at Kaitiaki Māori hui by non-Māori colleagues. We all share a deep love of the taonga that are in our care, it would not only be a great professional development opportunity for them but we’d also be able to discuss how we share museum guardianship, and museology culture in Aotearoa.
  • Lots of discussion at every opportunity to talk about the concept that is Māori Museology – have we defined that practice? Does it exist? Are there new ways to do things? Are there existing methods which have definitely had their day? What terminologies are in use now? Are Te Tipuranga, Te Puawaitanga, Te Huringa I, II, III still useful?
  • Have we talked about the Māori audience lately? How are we addressing them? Do we know if they’re happy with museums and how we serve them?
  • Ideas and debates about our responsibility as kaitiaiki within the museums of the future to Mātauranga Māori, to Tangata Whenua, our need to address to hybrid knowledge and practices, and how to best keep in step with where Māori are going to in the future.
  • What’s happening throughout the world in the realm of indigenous museology? How are international museums handling their source community relationships? What can we learn? What can we teach?Māori Peg Doll

    Māori Peg Doll by Alexandra Edmonds, 2011.  (wood, wool, cloth, ink, paper, burlap, feather, flax, rubber)  Gift of Alex Edmonds, 2011 Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa collection

    Māori Peg Doll by Alexandra Edmonds, 2011.
    (wood, wool, cloth, ink, paper, burlap, feather, flax, rubber)
    Gift of Alex Edmonds, 2011
    Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa collection

So imagining the future for Māori and museums, I dwell on relationships – how do we continue to build and learn from relationships among future professionals, future communities, and future organisations, for the integrity of future museum practice? But I don’t see this as purely a kaimahi Māori responsibility to develop or think through, I think it is a duty that is shared by all museums in Aotearoa and those of us that choose to do the work we do.

So I’m looking forward to being bewildered by all the new and old faces and, like I said, some hefty awesome kōrero. To everyone travelling there, travel safe and hopefully see you in a few weeks.

Arohanui, Puawai

For more information and to register for Tītiro Whakamua – Kāhui Kaitiaki Hui go to:

MA12 Panel Discussion – Whakakotahitanga – working together

Panel Discussion – Wednesday 18th April, 2012

Whakakotahitanga – working together

Chair – Darcy Nicholas

Haami Piripi and Phil Cross: Creating Te Ahu, reflecting the cultures of 7 iwi

Wayne Ngata: Maori and Science converging for the Transit of Venus

Whakakotahitanga – working together 1 from Museums Aotearoa on Vimeo.

Whakakotahitanga – working together 2 from Museums Aotearoa on Vimeo.

Whakakotahitanga – working together 3 from Museums Aotearoa on Vimeo.

Museums Aotearoa Tweets

Join Museums Aotearoa


%d bloggers like this: