237.131 Studio Session Notes (as a single page)

  • 237.131 – Week #1 Notes

    Week #1: Mana Atua and Knowledge Systems


    There are about 50 people in this course this semester, which felt like more than the first semester’s 237.130 module. The tutors started out the session by doing an introductory exercise to get us on our feet and energised, which worked pretty well. I started out meeting the group of people who were not born in New Zealand, and then met the people in the group who are, like me, on the BFA course. There are about 8 of us, with the other students being on one of the design courses.

    The main part of the session started with us watching the “Tātai Arorangi” episode of Project Mātauranga.

    Project Mātauranga is a television series that investigates Māori world views and methodologies within the scientific community and looks at their practical application… This episode looks at tātai arorangi (astronomical knowledge), used to navigate the ocean, plant crops, harvest kaimoana, and to tell the time

    Pokapū Akoranga Pūtaiao

    This particular episode focussed on Māori astronomy, including connections to non-Māori astronomy.

    What I picked up from the episode:

    • I need to find some Māori astronomy references.
    • Origin stories vary from Iwi to Iwi, so need to take care and not make sweeping statements like, “Māori believe …”
    • How were Māori astronomy stories translated by Pākehā into Western/mainstream concepts?
    • How do the researchers identify original sources?
    • What constitutes “raw information”?
    • Interesting: mainstream versus indigenous as comparative terms.
    • Is science not indigenous to India, England, France, whatever?
    • Not all Māori knowledge is for everyone – need to re-read the 237.130 article.

    Digression on comparative terms

    One of the speakers in the video used indigenous and mainstream to differentiate between the Māori and non-Māori world views. As noted above, indigenous is (to me) not a useful way of differentiating between the two, because one could argue that everything is invented somewhere, so we may as well say that the Theory of Gravity is indigenous to England. In my writing, if it’s necessary to differentiate, I will therefore use the following:

    • Traditional Māori …
    • Mainstream …
    • I’m not proposing to tag science as anything when referring to the universal subject. Science is not Western science or Eastern science or British science; it’s just “science”.
    • Where there is a need to differentiate between mainstream and fringe science, for example parapsychology versus chemistry, I will write “fringe science” and “mainstream science” respectively.

    Class exercise

    We split into small groups to discuss a few questions posed by the tutors on the video.

    What did we learn that’s new?

    None of us had heard of S.M.A.R.T, the Society Of Māori Astronomy Research & Traditions:


    What did we already know?

    Most of the information about traditional Polynesian navigation techniques – my group had come across this either at school through other sources.

    I had seen information on this topic at the New Zealand Maritime Museum in Auckland:


    What kind of creative work could we make to help explore this?

    • An interactive experience?
    • Game-ify the traditional Māori navigation process?
    • Create an artwork that shows how the night sky would appear, and how points in the sky could aid navigation?
  • 237.131 – Week #2 Notes

    Week #2: Mana Whenua

    Group work

    What my table group learnt from reading “Introduction to the Oxford Illustrated History of Science”:

    1. Science has become disconnected from culture.
    2. Science explains physical and spiritual things.
    3. Science explains models and the different ways of explaining models.
    4. Science is always adapting.
    5. Science sums up the way in which we make sense of the world around us.
    6. Science is a uniquely human activity.
    7. Most of what we know now will become false in the future.

    Huhana Smith interview

    (Video on Youtube but unlisted)

    • Rehabilitating the stream using matauranga Maori approach.
    • Harakeke (NZ Flax) Indigenous plant.
    • Doing this to keep contact between community and land.
    • Creating “pa harakeke”.
    • Harvest the harakeke and use if for making things, e.g. fibres for cloth, etc.
    • Harakeke also has medicinal uses.
    • Getting artists and artisans involved in responding to the project.
    • Pushing the design aspects of the task through Massey, e.g. textile engineers, designers, etc.

  • 237.131 – Week #3 Notes

    Week #3: Mana Tangata

    Discussion on Kumera

    Nutritious, can grow easily in NZ, can store very easily. Not sure what relevance this has to whakapapa.

    Some traditional Polynesian plants wouldn’t thrive in NZ.

    Lots of varieties of Kumera, so there’s probably one that fits in somewhere. However, there were maybe 80 varieties, but only three left.

    We have selectively decreased Kumera genetic diversity, potentially to select disease resistance, reduce competitive plants, make it easier to have large scale production, consumerization, etc.

    Some efforts made late in the day to increase diversity.

    “How the Gok’s saved the Kumera”.

    Seed stock of Kumera given away to the Japanese by the government.

    Whakapapa again as a way of showing people how to live life according to traditional values.


    So the difference is speed? We hybridize things all of the time.

    This is not to say that we should not pursue GMO; the issues seem to be around the cross-breeding of species.

    Is it OK to apply GMO to things without a whakapapa.

    Wonder how agapanthus fits into this

    Michael Parekowhai, The Lighthouse, 2017, installation

    The Lighthouse is an artwork by Michael Parekowhai. Its exterior is in the form of a 1:1 scale 1950s family home and its interior features an installation of light as well as a sculpture of Captain Cook, titled The English Channel. It is surrounded by a wooden jetty that “floats” on Queens Wharf. The public can explore the work by looking through its windows and doors and by climbing the staircase.

    The Lighthouse is the house that holds the whole universe as we know it. The interior finish is highly reflective and features clusters of neon lights that represent the star constellations which illuminate around all of the surfaces. The combination of light and the form of the fireplace implies the notion of ahi kā; that home fires are burning and the house is warm with people.

    The presence of The English Channel, sitting among the stars, grounds the work. This version of Captain Cook is not the heroic figure that we often see; instead he’s more pensive and thoughtful. He faces toward the fire, as if he’s warming his feet, but his gaze and mind are elsewhere.

    The Lighthouse can be viewed from Queens Wharf or from the sea on the Waiheke or Devonport ferries. The artwork is part of Auckland Council’s public art collection, and was funded by Barfoot & Thompson and anonymous donors.

    The Lisa Reihana piece

    Lisa Reihana: in Pursuit of Venus (infected)

    in Pursuit of Venus, the panoramic video by Lisa Reihana, is a moving image interpretation of the French scenic wallpaper Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique.


    Done as a riff on old wallpaper:

    Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique (The native peoples of the Pacific Ocean), 1804-5, Mâcon, by Mr Jean-Gabriel Charvet, Mr Joseph Dufour. Purchased 2015 with Charles Disney Art Trust funds. Te Papa (2015-0048-1) – Drops 1 – 10

    Connections to transit of Venus.

    Colonizers view on Aotearoa and Pacific peoples.

    The Assignment

    Continuing to consider the Doctrine of Discovery, and how to represent this through an art work.

  • 237.131 – Week #4 Notes

    Week #4: Te Reo Māori & Te Reo Pākehā

    Tapu and Noa

    Table discussion on this.

    People have tapu.

    Human waste therefore have tapu.

    Medical waste as an example.

    Interesting to look at powhiri. Consecration, blessing, removal of tapu.


    Sacred, prohibited, restricted, forbidden, protection


    Secular, free from restriction, open, clean, whole, ordinary, normal (but be careful with this word – opposite is obviously not abnormal in this context).

    Use of karakia to draw a line between your state before you start something, and then after you’ve ended doing something.

    Tame Iti video

  • 237.131 – Week #5 Notes

    Week #5: Colonisation and Nationalism

    Group discussion on culture and “banal nationalism”

    We discussed how NZ culture has sought definition, and how a kind of idealistic view of what it means to be a New Zealander has been brought into NZ advertising.

    Another name for this is Kiwiana, meaning iconic items that have a distinctly New Zealand flavour. Some examples below:

    • Landscapes
    • Sky tower
    • Buzzy bee
    • Baches
    • Hangi
    • Maori
    • NZ wildlife
    • Bungee
    • Maybe Hilux!
    • Fish and Chips

    We discussed how these things are how a culture seeks to internally define itself.

    What is the purpose of this?

    We did discuss how commercial exploitation is an obvious example of why this kind of iconography is used, but our feelings were that it goes deeper than this.

    Initially, NZ advertising had a very British approach and feel to it, including the accents and “received pronunciation” common in Britain at time. We discussed how this was perhaps a colonizers approach – to define the colony exclusively in reference to the “mother” country.

    One thing we noted was that a transition away from this British-centric approach gradually occurred, with an acceleration in the 1970s as Britain turned towards Europe and away from its former colonies. Then, different accents started to be heard was reached in NZ advertising .

    We also noted that at this time there was increased visibility of the diverse cultures than inhabit NZ.

    We contrasted visibility versus representation. The other cultures that we saw in the advertising at the time were in the background, and were not part of the main dialogue of the adverts.

    Hints and tips on assignment…

    We had a brief discussion to give us some hints on how best to write up our assignment. This was an interesting digression, given that I spend most of my day writing anyway. It was helpful to contrast academic writing styles versus what I usually do!

    So, we only get 700 words for this assignment (+/- 10%).

    How to make the 700 words we have work best?

    Make each paragraph about a new concept.(some concept) is from place, time, who, etc.

    Use in-text citations.

    Conclude at the end of each para, then write an overall conclusion as a separate paragraph.

  • 237.131 – Week #6 Notes

    Week #6: Presentation

    Not possible – COVID 🙁

  • 237.131 – Week #8 Notes

    Introduction to Assignment 2

    There was no week 7 – skipped due to lockdown.

    Group Discussion

    The following term: utu

    Utu is a Māori concept of reciprocation or balance.

    To retain mana, both friendly and unfriendly actions require an appropriate response, hence utu covers both the reciprocation of kind deeds, and the seeking of revenge.

    Utu can also be used in reference to monetary repayments, paying or repaying.

    ‘Utu (Māori Concept)’. Wikipedia, 2 May 2021. Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Utu_(M%C4%81ori_concept)&oldid=1020944190.

    Not really about revenge; more about reciprocity.

    About restoring balance to mana.

  • 237.131 – Week #9 Notes

    Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Art & Design

    Guarding the Family Silver

    Cognitive dissonance – keep te reo Māori on the marae, but celebtrate the “All Blacks haka”.

    Māori culture potentially seen by big brands as a resource to be exploited.

    Struggling to say how this is different from a rap artist remixing another track.

    Offense should be measured by the standards of the culture.

    “Can’t celebrate the beauty without celebrating the people to which it belongs”.

    How to check if offending Māori cultural images?

    IP system does not current support collective ownership approaches.

    How to resolve the “total incompatibility” between the individualistic approaches to global IP and collectivism of Māori tikanga considerations.

    “Control” seems to be the critical issue. Control of identity, etc.

    Not a good fit between IP and traditional knowledge.

    Māori recognitions of protection – have IP law recognize those interests.

    How to address the potential “chilling effect” on innovation? For example, will the international innovators shy away from NZ?

  • 237.131 – Week #10 Notes

    Decolonising gender and sexuality

  • 237.131 – Week #11 Notes

    Locating Moana Oceania

    Dawn Raids Documentary



    The dawn raids were shameful, because in essence they set out to pick up anybody who didn’t look like a Pākehā or palangi New Zealander. They swooped on people who were Māori, they swooped on many Pasifika people who had absolutely lawful residence in New Zealand, may even have been born here…

    Helen Clark

    It was a painful time to be a Pacific Islander in New Zealand. I don’t think it’s something we should hide from.

    Oscar Kightley in Sunday Star Times, 31 July 2005

    The police proposed that they would simply stop people in the street and ask them for their documentation – hello, what is this? South Africa? Pass laws, you’ve got to carry your passport to prove you’re a Kiwi. I don’t think they meant to be so offensive, but it was wierd.

    Ex Minister of Immigration Aussie Malcolm

    Statistics show that through the 70s and the 1980s, that the bulk of overstayers in New Zealand were actually from Europe and from North America, but they weren’t targeted to anything like the same extent.

    Massey University Professor Paul Spoonley

    …Very much was made of the word ‘dawn raids’. It’s very emotive. Just remember — these young fellas were working in the freezing works, heading off to work at five and six in the morning. They were on long shifts and so on, and that was the only time you could get them.

    Former Police Task Force Commander Ross Dallow

    Thoughts on this

    Given that the Government has issued a formal apology, it’s clear that this was a shameful episode in NZ history.

    Don’t doubt that there was overstaying or breaches of immigration conditions, but the response to this was in no way proportional, and went as far in some cases to become a fundamental violation of human rights.

    Stop and search – comparison to “pass laws” in South Africa under Apartheid are not unjustified.

    Oceania / Pacific Island

    Select 1 or 2 Conversation points

    1. What do you know about the current concerns of the communities of the Pacific Island groups? A couple of options are below
      a. Use google to find out about Banaba and Bikini islands both forsaken for economic or/an political power. Discuss what you found out.
      b. Provide examples like the impacts of climate crisis and reflect on Hauofa’s point about kaitiaki roles,
    2. If someone asked you what is a Pacific Islander? What would you say? Would you say that is you?
      a. Discuss, why
      b. Or would you not? & discuss why not?
    3. Discuss what you know about the Pacific
      a. Who lives there
      b. Its expanse
      c. Its history
    4. How heard is the voice of the Pacific Island identity (beyond NZ) in terms of political & economic power – internationally or even within Oceania? Discuss your ideas.
    5. Do you listen to Pacific Rapp? Why and what does it say to you?

  • 237.131 – Week #12 Notes

    Asian Aotearoa Histories

    Pre-work – videos

    “Māori-Chinese encounters and New Zealand multi-cultural society”. Manying Ip. Research works wonders. 2011, Auckland University.

    Interviewed 100+ people.

    Lots of NZ people with Chinese and Māori.

    Multi-cultural society is broader than people think.

    Needs to be more understanding of Asian community in NZ.

    “Documentary Edge Online Video Poetry Slam 2012: Chinglish: Renee Liang”. 2012, Documentary Edge.

    People’s perceptions that people who are Asian were not born here?

    “Your English is good, for a foreigner…”

    “Community arts case study: ‘Alice Canton’s OTHER [CHINESE]’”. Jeff Smith, Deep Animation (filmmakers). 2018, New Zealand on Air.

    Classroom notes

    Economic downturn in China.

    Prompted a diaspora to other countries.

    Watching video #1 again

    Social deprivation.

    Legislative discrimination.


    This was one of first pieces of research.

    Way forwards is for Chinese and Maori to work together.

    National identity includes Pakeha, Māori, and Asians.

    Reflecting on this image

    Portrayal of Asian man as a monster.

    Male attacker.

    Māori woman representing NZ?

    Māori as victims?

    Adaptation of other country’s racist traits.


    Why opium? Was that long dead by 1907?

    Why octopus?



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