Perspectives in the interpretation of New Zealand's cultural heritage.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Education
This thesis surveys a number of historic and cultural interpretation programmes. It considers the aims of these programmes and describes the ways they illustrate aspects of biculturalism. It examines the concerns faced by those developing and administering such programmes in contemporary New Zealand society. As well as an extensive literature review, data was collected through interviews with interpretive practitioners involved in both long-standing and recent programmes, museum ethnologists, Department of Conservation staff, and archaeologists as well as others with specialised skills in this area. Analysis is based on examination of the ways in which interpretation is affected by the policy, values and practices of their context. The effects on interpretation of assimilative practice are contrasted with an emerging bicultural practice. Models of assimilation, market ethos and biculturalism are examined in terms of Freire's analysis of oppressive and liberating societies. Case studies highlight some of the issues raised when pursuing bicultural practice within an increasingly market dominated society. Findings indicate that such programmes are beneficial as an aspect of bicultural education in heightening the visibility of Maori for the general public, and introducing values, processes and a different way of approaching material from what has been accepted by many as the monocultural norm. Furthermore and importantly they can represent the return of provenance to material and ownership of material and sites to Maori. However the study indicates there are differing perceptions on the part of Maori and Pakeha interpretive agents in relation to priorities over issues, cultural values, and ways of viewing material. Furthermore the demands of an increasingly market driven economy places pressures on the development of such interpretive programmes.