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The contested shift to a bicultural understanding of place heritage in Aotearoa New Zealand

This article explores contemporary threads in the heritage history of Aotearoa New Zealand, as we witness in real-time the emergence of alternative narratives of Indigenous heritage, in contrast to those of Western dominated modernity and colonial hegemony. Moves to actively decolonise heritage studies is creating shifts in the bicultural understanding of culture and heritage to overtly include place heritage. As this new framing emerges, wider acknowledgement of the significance of Māori heritage landscapes is growing. This is explored here in a series of four case-studies. Each account illustrates how Indigenous Māori voices have gained momentum, and reinforces how Aotearoa New Zealand is transitioning to greater bicultural appreciation through inclusion, changes in social and cultural conventions, and new interpretations of dominant narratives using tools like critical heritage studies and existing legal conventions. This evolution of heritage values is not without repeated contestation, however. Positively, increasing numbers of settler-Pākehā (non-Māori) as well as those colonised, no longer believe or accept the histories previously told. Much needed, robust, and sometimes difficult discussions are taking place, enabling New Zealanders to reconsider the significance of what heritage means to all its people.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Informa UK Limited
© 2023 The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).