Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Maori ways of knowing : the politics of knowledge surrounding Taonga and the Charles Smith Collection
Author: Kefalas, Christofili
ISNI:       0000 0004 2730 1428
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
This research considers material culture, the politics of identity, and the role knowledge plays in a Maori community in relation to a nineteenth century historic collection held abroad. The Charles Smith collection came from the Nga Paerangi community in Whanganui, New Zealand. The importance of historic collections to Maori are described through the concept taonga, or treasured objects, which have been theorized in terms of kinship relationships to a certain class of social valuable. This research acknowledges that taonga uphold the continuity of historic relationships, but departs from other analyses in its focus on a previously unknown collection, introduced to the source community through photographs in an exploration of ways taonga interactions are historically and circumstantially informed. Visually focused research endeavors often present diverse responses in a meeting of the social life of objects and the politics of knowledge. Similarly, divergent responses to taonga arose that referenced the colonial contexts in which such taonga left Maori control, as well as losses to knowledge bases in the community. Endeavors to reclaim lands and cultural heritage through language and education initiatives operate at a local level of regeneration, but these goals become pertinent to larger issues of placing knowledge within a rights-based framework grounded in personal socializations of knowledge. The recognition that knowledge is taonga emerged as the framework for understanding ways Maori assert their authority over land, their language, and museum collections based in particular dispositions to knowledge. The control enacted over cultural representations in museums, land courts, and other political forums, asserts self-determinative positions, and also claims Maori knowledge as a scarce resource. Community speakers who have access to this powerful knowledge must therefore act on behalf of their communities as guardians of knowledge and taonga treasures, to redress historic losses, outsider appropriations of culture, and prevent further social disadvantages.
Supervisor: Peers, Laura Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Material anthropology ; identity politics ; New Zealand ; Maori ; museum objects