European photographer Ann Westra, took “from Washday at the pa” with the intention of observing day to day life as she traveled through rural areas of New Zealand (Art New Zealand). The photographs were later used in Te Ao Hou,a book used in primary school across New Zealand in the 60’s and 70’s. These photographs were the only representation of rural Maori in Te Ao Hou and were criticised that they could create an false perception among Pakeha children about what life was like for Maori before many came to the cities. This was especially destructive as when the book was being circulated Maori migration to the cities was at its peak, with approximately 64% of the Maori population in urban areas.
Art New Zealand. “The Eye of an Outsider: A Conversation with Ans Westra.” Art New Zealand. Art New Zealand, 2001. Web. 24 Sept. 2016.
1. European/American’s often represent Polynesians as half naked, ‘native’ people in order to market the islands as a relaxing tourist destination, where one can escape the stresses of modern life. The depiction of the islands as an idealistic place with people represented in a different time sweeps aside many of the modern issues of poverty and climate change that threaten the survival of Pacific Nations (Taouma 37).
2. The Polynesian Panthers group, was formed as a result of the dawn raids and racial scapegoating of NZ Polynesians in the 1970’s. The name and design of the logo is based off the Black Panthers group that was founded in America in 1966 during the US civil rights movement. Because of this the association, Polynesian panthers were immediately associated with fighting racial prejudice. However the logos were commonly used as ‘gang style’ patches couple with the perception of the black panthers as a radical group lead to many pakeha viewing the Polynesia Panthers as a gang. (Fepulea’i).
3. New Zealand’s economy experienced a post war boom in the 50’s and 60’s and Polynesian immigrants willing to work blue collar job were welcomed to NZ. NZ fell into a depression in the 70’s due to the oil crisis, causing a rise in unemployment and the national government was quick to blame Polynesian overstayers for taking NZ jobs. The government targeted at Polynesian communities, raiding potential over stayers houses in the middle of the night and asking for proof of residency. While the government and the Police Minister Allan McCready insisted that “there were no random checks” it was discovered that there were 201 random checks and in 1977 the Immigration policy was changed and ended the dawn raids.
Anae, Melani. ‘Polynesian Panther logo, 1970’s’ All power to the people. 2012. Tangata o le Moana. Wellington. New Zealand. Te Papa. Press. 222.
Fepulea’i, D. “The Dawn Raids.” 2005. Documentary.
Taouma, Lisa. ‘Gauguin is dead … there is no paradise.’ 2004. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 25:1, 35-46.