There were a number of issues facing the Māori (the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand) in 2009 that had implications for Māori identity, sovereignty, and customary rights to taonga (treasured possessions) guaranteed under Article Two of the Treaty of Waitangi, signed by Crown representatives and Māori in 1840. The issues included the Creative New Zealand Arts Council decision to terminate its funding support for ‘toi iho,’ the Maori Trade Mark of quality and authenticity, a dispute over the naming of a New Zealand town called ‘Whanganui,’ and the formation of a Government Ministerial Panel to review the Foreshore and Seabed Act. This paper navigates these issues in relation to two exhibitions ‘Bed of Roses’ (2009) and ‘MAORIMADE’ (2010) to explain how the works comment on contemporary issues relevant to Māori identity, sovereignty and customary rights; and how the work fits within the continuum of Maori art.
|Keywords:||Essentialism, Ethnicity, Customary, Hybridity, Maori Art, Trans-Customary|
Professor of Maori Visual Arts, Massey University, Palmerston North, Manawatu, New Zealand