Friday, October 9, 2009

ZenTiger Maori Warrior


Given my defence of boxing, one might mistakenly think I'd embrace a culture of violence. I do not. That was about competition and self-mastery.

So I'm not particularly impressed with the plans to build an 8m giant Maori Bronze Statue that will apparently "stir Kiwi pride".

It's an implicit celebration of the violent aspect of culture, so it doesn't stir any pride. It's a display of Maori culture rather than bringing together something all New Zealanders can relate to, and already Maori are complaining they were not properly consulted. It's also a 2 million dollar waste of Rate Payer funds (unless some is bolstered by private money?)

Aside from that, I probably would have yawned and moved on except for the unfortunate opening paragraph:
It will not rival the Statue of Liberty or come close to the Eiffel Tower, but it will be bigger than Paeroa's L&P bottle and Te Kuiti's shearing statue.
This is sad and funny on several levels.

The first is the laughable comparison to two major icons that simply dwarf this statue in scope, meaning, cost and ability to inspire.

The Statue of Liberty symbolizes freedom. Rather than a warrior, it's a women standing tall holding a flaming beacon, welcoming incoming immigrants sailing into New York Harbour. It commemorates the Declaration of Independence. It was a gift from France to America, and there is symbolism even in that.

The Eiffel Tower is a marvel of construction, created for the world fair, an event that encouraged trade, education and industry. It was also meant as a memorial to the French Revolution, again, an intention to celebrate liberty, not the violence employed to achieve it. It was also a world's first - the world's tallest structure at the time.

So those comparisons were the sad part, and the funny was then the comparison to reality. "It will be bigger than Paeroa's L&P bottle and Te Kuiti's shearing statue. Whilst I don't mind those small town icons, is this also the competition Waikato council aspires to rival with its Maori Warrior?

Surely, we can do better then this?

5 comment(s):

PM of NZ said...

We can do better!

'Resource consent has been granted for the Dannevirke Viking icon'

At 10m, mine's bigger than yours!

http://www.infonews.co.nz/news.cfm?l=1&t=0&id=24086

Ozy Mandias said...

A 10m high Viking for Dannevirke. Sounds impressive. Is that to highlight the high proportion of Vikings living in the area??

I live in Tauranga and I might push for a 12m high Winston Peters bronze head on the new harbour bridge.

ZenTiger said...

That would be smaller than life size then? Oh hang on, I thought you were talking about the size of his ego.

squaredrive said...

Perhaps Springfield (Canterbury) should rebuild their Simpsons donut to be 12m in diameter (and if rivals trump that, add a to scale Homer Simpson drooling over it - hehe).

But to the thread topic - so you would favour an 8m kuia welcoming people onto the marae? (hand waving, etc - could use the Farmers Santa reshelled for this perhaps - its only used 1 month a year, and the locals could scratch their heads over where the kuia statue goes each December :) ) Peaceful, imbued with knowledge, welcoming all... (better make sure it's not at the Bombay Hills then).

ZenTiger said...

I'm not sure what I would favour, and it doesn't really matter what I would like or dislike if the focus is on making this area the "centre of the celebration of Maoridom" as they wish.

If it's to promote Maoridom, and the rate payers agree to using their rates for this, they can do what they like, and good luck to them.

However, they cannot claim pride and acceptance for all New Zealanders with grand statements like this:

"Paris has the Eiffel Tower, New York the Statue of Liberty but they are both embraced by their nations. The Maori warrior could have exactly the same national and international significance."

This is not something on the same level, and it isn't something that symbolizes a shared cultural history between Maori and Pakeha, or forges ahead with a New Zealand identity we can all relate to, so I find myself faintly insulted.

Whilst they are busy speaking for all New Zealanders, the local iwi are typically a little put out they were not consulted:

Ngaruawahia's representative on the council and Tainui woman Moera Solomon said iwi were disappointed they had not been consulted.

"The plan was taken to the public and displayed in the library but it has never been brought to Tainui. We are not the general public...


What a brilliant start to infusing National Pride.

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