Friday, January 29, 2010

Andrei Once we were Warriors - now we are whiners

Professor Rawiri Taonui, head of the School of Maori and Indigenous Studies, at the University of Canterbury, is at it again.

Fresh from complaining about Avatar recycling "indigenous stereotypes" he is now complaining about the new Air New Zealand cabin crew uniforms.

According to him
Maori symbols such as the koru on the Trelise Cooper-designed uniforms did not treat the cultural symbols with respect.

"It's way too busy and inelegant," he said.

"It's obviously been drawn by someone who doesn't appreciate the culture or understand the deeper symbolism."

Taonui said the Maori symbols on the uniforms each had different meanings and should not be randomly mixed together.

"When you look at traditional Maori sculpture ... each symbol is quite distinct," he said. "With [the uniform], they're sort of thrown together in seemingly no pattern."

He was happy for koru and other symbols to be used on clothing, provided it was done "with elegance".

The Air New Zealand uniforms did not do that.
I am so glad that Air New Zealand has the good professors permission to use the Koru - its just a shame that they didn't comply with his his fashion sense when using it.

Perhaps next time Air New Zealand is doing a redesign of its uniforms it should commission the University of Canterbury School of Maori and Indigenous Studies instead of looking to leading New Zealand Fashion houses.

Personally I, a mere male with little knowledge of womens fashion, have nothing to say about the aesthetics of the new uniforms.

I am more than happy to leave the fashion commentary up to professors of Indigenous Studies and the Womens Weekly.

3 comment(s):

Madeleine said...

Well said!

I think the uniforms look very good and I wouldn't have even realised they were Maori patterns if it had not been pointed out.

XChequer said...

Did I hear the word "precious" echoing round the halls of Canterbury Uni?

My God, this is really scraping the bottom of the barrel. Prof. Taonui must be up for a funding review for his department and felt that a little publicity would help sway the funding committee.

I really worry that a great deal of maori academia (and not just Prof. Taonui's dept, despite it's recent history) is sometimes out of touch with the real world. Isolated within it's own conceit and distinguishment, it seeks a relevance that continues to elude it.

If I were more vehement there might be other - bad - words I could use about this, but then that would accomplish the good Professors goal of the comments provoking a reaction.

Like an errant child, perhaps the best thing to do is ignore them.

Or how much does the Super Nanny cost? She wouldn't put up with this.


I.M Fletcher said...

I think that, like most NZ designs of clothing recently (Olympic uniforms with the crocodile shoes), they pretty much stink.

We have a history of producing awful looking uniforms at our commonwealth and Olympic games while other countries manage to come up with beautiful, clean, pleasing designs.

Who wants to be confronted with an army of pink when you get on a plane? I think the design is far too noisy. You can check out the entire range on the Herald site. Numbers 9 to 14 in the gallery are the proposed new ones.

Here's my take (from a non-fashion guy :)

No 9 (the green skirt with the same pattern as the pink thing) doesn't look conservative enough (much like the pink). It just looks weird. No 10 (the suit) has a very unique shape but one that will probably age as fast as flares did. No 11 (with the white top) looks dowdy and unprofessional. The top looks like what a woman does when a mens shirt is too big and ties the hanging ends in a knot. The shape is not flattering on the model at all and makes her bottom half look too big. No 12 is probably the one I like best but are those flared trousers? No 13 (the pink monster) - the less said about this the better. No 14 looks like something from Starship Troopers that the officers wear.

That's my unprofessional opinion :)

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