237.131 Independent Study Week #3

Week 3: Mana Tangata

Task 1 (5 minutes)

REFLECT: Have a look at your responses to the independent study from last week, how did this weeks class discussion deepen or help develop and expand your initial understanding? You could write about this in a sentence or two, or you could go back and add to your original notes.

Went back and looked at my notes and enhanced them, but mainly as a result of watching the videos again and rereading the articles.

Task 2 (3 hours)

READ: Ataria James et al. "From tapu to noa: Māori cultural values on biowaste management: A focus on biosolids" The main example in this reading is the management of biowaste, choose an example of your own (this could be an object, person or space) and draw an annotated diagram that outlines considerations between tapu and noa that might concern your example.

*You can use the abstract to help you identify the main aim and key points of a text. Or you can read the introduction and conclusion first to help you work out what the overall aim and most important points might be. Try highlighting or underlining just one sentence or phrase (the one you think is most important) in each body paragraph to help break the text down.


I read the article and thought about some examples where I have seen tapu/noa principles applied. The obvious one for me is in whale strandings, given who I work for.

Whales are commonly recognized as taonga (or treasure). There has been customary use of stranded sea mammals by Māori for a long time, probably since they migrated to New Zealand.

If a whale strands and unfortunately dies on a New Zealand beach, then DOC is legally responsible for implementing the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978[1]https://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/marine-mammals/marine-mammal-strandings/.

Task 3 (3 hours) self directed study on your first assignment

WRITE: Continue to research your project. Select your final example and write up your contextual understanding of this, making connections to the definition you drafted last week and continuing to use course resources and your own further reading to help develop depth and nuance in your discussion (use the Massey library databases). Make sure you cite your sources as you go. 

LIST, SKETCH, MAP or PLAN: Sketch, map, plan ideas for the practical component of your assignment.

Discovery Doctrine – My Definition

The Discovery Doctrine allowed European government to take ownership of lands that they encountered for the first time, in spite of them being already occupied by indigenous peoples.

6th Sense, by Steve Gibbs

I am still keen to reference Steve Gibbs work for this assignment.

Steve Gibbs, 6th Sense, https://www.aucklandartgallery.com/explore-art-and-ideas/artwork/31361/6th-sense

The shifted perspectives in this work interest me: the two angles to the story of Cook’s ship arriving, inversion of the ship, and that picture is seen through the eyes of Pāoa’s pet dog, Marewaiteao.

The 661 hectare property is currently owned by New York financier John Griffin. After acquiring the property in 2002, Griffin engaged in a long-term plan to restore the area’s vegetation and wildlife. Across the station over 600, 000 trees were planted, 26 hectares of wetlands were restored, and a 2-metre-high predator-proof fence was constructed as native species such as Tuatara, Blue Penguin and Weta were reintroduced. In 2005 Ecoworks, an ecological restoration company in Gisborne, successfully used solar-powered, acoustic-attraction methods and artificial burrows to establish breeding colonies of six pelagic seabird species at Young Nick’s Head which had previously been severely affected by human colonisation and the introduction of new predators.


Discovery Doctrine and New Zealand Biodiversity

I believe the Discovery Doctrine concept has been applied to New Zealand’s ecosystems and biodiversity by both Māori and Pākehā. Essentially, both colonizing events have been based on a presumption that discovery gave people the right to bring their own non-native species into the country, and to exploit the environment that was already here. This has had devastating consequences for New Zealand’s native species. Perhaps by referencing The Discovery Doctrine in this context I can provide a common ground for Māori and Pākehā, and to show the responsibility that all New Zealanders share for this destruction.

I guess the question is, can I reference 6th Sense in a way that illustrates this in a way that will strongly resonate? An option is to rework the general concept of the piece, replacing elements of it with new one that represent indigineous species and ecosystem decline.

Let’s look at how 6th Sense tells its story.

6th Sense, 2017 considers both histories from the perspective of Pāoa’s pet dog….

The title, 6th Sense, suggests the inevitability of the changes that British colonisation would bring to the region and to the country.

‘6th Sense’. Auckland Art Gallery, https://www.aucklandartgallery.com/explore-art-and-ideas/artwork/31361/6th-sense. Accessed 28 July 2021.


I could produce a work that considers both histories from the perspective of an extinct indigenous species. A Haast’s Eagle, say, seeing an approaching Māori waka and a Pākehā ship, and in them the upcoming changes to New Zealand. The destruction of 45% of native forests by the Māori and a further 30% after Pākehā arrived. 59 bird species that have gone extinct since humans arrived.

I think there’s a decent concept here, so will start to sketch how this might look.


1 https://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/marine-mammals/marine-mammal-strandings/