Our Place in New Zealand Culture: How the Museum of New Zealand Constructs Biculturalism
Goldsmith, M. (2003). Our Place in New Zealand Culture: How the Museum of New Zealand Constructs Biculturalism. Ethnologies Comparees, 6, 1-12.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/3414
The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa opened in 1998 amidst controversy but has been a huge popular success and has become an icon of national identity. The controversy was confined to elite circles and stemmed from criticisms of the contrasting ways in which Maori and Pakeha (European) cultural items were displayed — the former in a reverential manner and the latter as a kind of 'amusement arcade' of supposedly incoherent, temporary and mocking exhibits. Through an analysis of these displays and of the representations surrounding them, this paper argues that the sacred/profane dichotomy promulgated by the Museum may be open to argument but is probably an inescapable feature of the official policy of biculturalism in a postcolonial setting.
This article has been published in the journal: Ethnologies Comparees.