Heritage in place.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This thesis deals with two cultural constructs, heritage and place, and how they have interacted over space and time. The specific spatial contexts range from global (the operation of the World Heritage Convention), to national (identity and versions of heritage in New Zealand), to regional (heritage on the West Coast of the South Island) to local (heritage in the context of human communities in the South Westland part of the South-West New Zealand World Heritage Area). Whilst moving between and among this range of spatial contexts, two main questions are addressed. First, what has the term heritage meant, over this range of spatial scales, and whose purposes and whose outcomes are served by these meanings? The second question queries the effectiveness of qualitative research methods, that construct and analyse narratives from a range of written and spoken sources.
Theoretical investigations into heritage and its connections with pasts, ideologies and cultures, conclude that the term versions of heritage signals the variability, contestability and contingency of heritage. After exploring ways of referring to land of heritage significance, the betweenness of place, combined with the paradoxicality of space, are related to the study of such versions. These constructs underpin a series of case studies, starting with the operation of the World Heritage Convention and recent changes to the operational guidelines that acknowledge complex cultural landscapes. Versions of heritage for Tongariro National Park, the first world heritage area to be designated under the revised guidelines, are then discussed, thus bridging between heritage at global and national scales. National versions of heritage and related ideologies are extracted from texts dealing with the Crown and Crown agents. The West Coast of the South Island is the focus for the remaining chapters, that deal with recent changes in attitudes to land, heritage and ideologies. One of the last large Crown land development proposals in North Westland, the Perseverance Block, is contrasted with the campaign to establish a world heritage area over the whole south west corner of the South Island. The final substantive chapter explores how the government attempted to assist the people of South Westland to adapt to this designation, and how they reacted.
The thesis concludes that the interweaving of narratives from a range of textual sources is an appropriate way of exploring the complexities of heritage in place. Versions of heritage, the betweenness of place and paradoxical space have allowed these narratives to be effectively interwoven. The complexity and subjectivity of local narratives of heritage in place is rendered powerful by locating them within a more objectified, situated knowledge. Situated knowledge can establish a form of grounded universalism, that connects with the objectified ways of knowing that still dominate those who manage the south west. Although not a management tool per se, interweaving narratives of heritage in place is suggested as a useful foundation to future management strategies.