Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ko Aotearoa Tenei: WAI 262 preamble...

Love the intro which begins with ...'Aue e te mate, kei hea tau wero, aue e te reinga kei hea tou wikitoria?' which is translated as ...'Oh death where is thy sting; grave, where is your victory', nice allusion to both Corinthians 15:55 and a sonnet by Shakespeare.

Then follows a parade of faces, many having shuffled off this mortal coil.

The report then gives a potted history of Kupe's People, then Cook's People - sailors one and all (useful 101, even 201, histories). Then a number of quite revisionist statements:
" Maori culture locates us in the Pacific and gives us our deep roots here. Pakeha culture locates us at the same time in the West and gives us our right to the West's heritage."

Then quickly comes the following: "Bicultural fusion gives our vibrant multicultural reality a solid core with enough gravity to pull immigrant cultures into orbit around its vision, values, and expectations. A nation cannot sustain itself without that solid core" (p.16).

Of course WAI 262 was never a standard claim, if indeed its possible to speak of such a thing. It is acknowledged that the claim always asked 'novel questions' about who owns or controls
1. matauranga Maori;
2. the tangible outputs of matauranga Maori;
3. 'things that are important contributors to matauranga Maori, namely
i) taonga species
ii) and the natural environment of Aotearoa/New Zealand.

I see these as posing ontological, epistemological, and empirical challenges, respectively, to Maori and Pakeha; What can be known; how do we know and use this knowledge; and what does this knowledge result in, how is it manifested in our lifeworlds?



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