REVIEWS. WEEK NINE

Hi guys,

We have two weeks to go now. I know most of you have already finished their blogging tasks, but those who haven’t yet can use the opportunities of these two weeks to complete their exercise.

This week’s reading is the essay “Natural Occupancy,” by Linda Hardy. A look at various texts (both written and visual) addressing issues of settler colonialism in relation to New Zealand culture, the essay invites the reader to reflect upon the event of the encounter, which is crucial to the understanding of settlers’ mentality. You may be familiar with some of the books and films mentioned in the essay, which means you may have an easy task ahead of yourselves.

Good luck

Francisc

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42 comments

  1. “Natural Occupancy” vividly highlights the concept of journey/ migration, in addition, to presenting the ideals of identity. “The Piano” is used as an example to illustrate the idea of adapting and adopting the ideals of a newly attained society. The protagonist Ada embarks on a journey to the unknown country of New Zealand, however, the piano symbolizes the familial bond Ada has with her native origins. In addition, it depicts her reluctance to feel at home or welcome in a somewhat foreign colony. The film gradually manoeuvres to more idyllic scenes of the two lovers heavily embedded in domestic bliss, in which, the piano is made to conform to the New Zealand lifestyle of that period. The piano serves as an emotional container for adaption, colonization and identity.
    I related to this weeks’ reading because as a Samoan living in New Zealand, I struggle with the concept of identity. The life I lead in New Zealand is a stark contrast of the life led by my family members in Samoan. However, I choose to live a more Kiwi-esque lifestyle because that’s the life I have been exposed to. I was not raised around the same cultural ideals and practises that my cousins have been introduced since birth. A few years ago, I went to Samoa and discovered that as a New Zealand raised Samoan; I am quiet isolated from my Samoan brethren. I noticed that I behave differently when exposed to cultural gatherings, I tend to feel a tad restricted but slightly prideful. Whereas I like to think I lead a more carefree life in New Zealand. These hybrid environments affect my way of looking and thinking of my identity, in the same sense Ada saw the placement of the piano on the shore. My identity is created by old as well as new ideals. My parents serve as my piano.

  2. Rowan

    The pre-disposition of settlers have to “cultural lag” is problematic for them when they wish acclimatise to their new home and become, in a sense, the other. The romantic notion that the indigenous people or way of life holds the answer to belonging in the new space that a settler finds themself in is the “sensuality of natural occupancy” Hardy intimates. The lust to become other, though an unsolvable paradox (in that one can only ever be at most plural) nonetheless effectively points out the inbuilt prejudice that migrates with culture.

    This “encounter” mentality is a binary that pervades not only meetings with community but also, as Stephen Turner noted in his lecture, encroaches on the experience of nature as well. Our identification with nature parallels that of a dominant culture’s approach to the indigenous other – a romantic idealisation that is only understood in terms mediated by a fixed point of view, i.e the dominant discourse.

    This edenic construct is also how colonisers approach the acquisition and ownership of territory, creating originary narratives through successive tides of migration that obliterates the true experience of first contact. It is why many New Zealand Europeans still fiercely oppose immigrants from Asia, the Pacific and beyond: the layers of history have blurred the narrative of colonisation to the point where kiwi’s in 2013 have forgotten the past, creating a false memory of the occupation that latter generations of settlers identify with as historically accurate, a phenomenon that denies the bias of acquisition which Hardy calls their “innocent mode of entry into the new world”.

    This false consciousness is now canonical, and therefore very difficult to make transparent until addressed in a form outside of conventional discourse. Hybrid culture gains agency through its acknowledgement of its plurality. It unsettles constructed reality through, for example, giving rise to art that can exist ahead of cultural interpretation, an idea effectively demonstrated through Jane Campion’s specific choice to set the movie “The Piano” at a point of early contact in New Zealand’s colonial history. The musical instrument serves as a metaphor for cultural baggage that, once cast aside, can lead to a more “real” existence; that of the main characters’ love that brings their two worlds together in the present.

    The extractive ability of art to remove itself from, or rather exist ahead of, culture is therefore a pathway to the truth that operates in the ever-instantiating zone between experience and knowledge. As Stephen implied, it is imperative to recognise the methodical construct of New Zealand history only served to produced an inauthentic “kiwi” ontology. In order to move forward culturally the past must be constantly re-framed, ideally (excuse the pun) through non-mediated knowledge, or at the very least with more than a one-eyed perspective.

  3. tmas043

    What is problematic in the cultural discourse is the fact that there are two major political entities that are locked into battle over land rights and the underlying issue of figuring out where the Treaty of Waitangi stands in our constitution and if this ambiguous realm of where these founding principles lie can ever be resolved. Linda Hardy gets at the way we construct Reterritorialization/ Deterritorialization in terms of settler country and how it manifest itself in the cultural construct which is deciphered more into this imagination, fantasy of the life we want to know, we thought we lived rather than what really did exist. What is quite central to this thought of process is the idea that we use objects in order to decipher meanings in that we mould, shape and reshape ideas of land in order to construct identity. The land around us is used as a way of reconnecting or re establishing our ancestral roots but its not necessarily the way we use objects to make reference to the homeland but the way we construct meaning from those objects how we make these meanings construct the ambiguous idea of the homeland and how it manifest itself into constructing this idealistic way of life which becomes problematic for the cultural construction of identity.

    The Treaty of Waitangi is an integral part of our legal system because it is the founding principles of New Zealand’s law therefore should be recognized as an valid document before pakeha European law. What is hard to obtain is the idea that we are more focused on the “if its not broken don’t fix it theory” because it is suggesting ignorance, it downplays as big of an issue as confiscation of land which left many of Maori ancestry in poverty and abolished a lot of the history of Maori identity. This idea of accepting what we have, is an moral injustice to not only Maori but humanity as a whole, when we know we have done wrong and not acknowledged that we have done wrong is the very same for the issues of the treaty that are quite vivid and central part of New Zealand’s identity and what gives New Zealand it’s incredible unique iconic history. There are three things that we must accept: One is that we must acknowledge and accept that New Zealand is a multicultural society now with a mainstream economy that is thriving on our dairy products. Two is that we must accept that New Zealand has a hierarchal government and there is a constitution that is in place that we must follow however Three is that we must accept Maori Law is an very important part of this constitution and should not be overridden by government law because its the founding document of New Zealand.

    • snel032

      Is the treaty really an integral part of our legal system? Actually, it’s not, it’s more of an ornamental document that is almost iconic. It has no real legal value; it does however influence some of the values and laws that are in existence today. If we consider the text by Linda Hardy and our settler, country manifests itself through cultural constructs and creates a life of fantasy that we want to know, as opposed to our lived realities. It believe it is in our fantasy thinking that we could agree that the Treaty of Waitangi is upheld by New Zealand courts, the reality is that Maori land ownership has decreased by millions of acres within the last twenty to thirty years. In fact, when considering the Treaty, a key word disputed is the idea of sovereignty. For the British settlers who came into the country, this concept was a territory they were familiar with, it was a defined striated space. However, for Maori this was not the system by which they operated their Chieftainship. The use of this word in the treaty forced the reterritorialization of Maori spaces under this new idea of sovereignty. It acted as an event that disrupted traditional patters and created a new structure, a new territory and a new system. However, has this new territorialisation displaced Maori? I would argue it has, the loss of culture, identity, language and importantly, their spiritual connection to the land. Are Maori nomad is their own land? Does this allow them to be a potential war machine that could upset the current political system? Controversies surrounding the foreshore and sea bed indicate the answer is yes.

  4. Glenn

    Hardy’s text, “Natural Occupancy,” was an interesting read which I think helped to explore the grey area in European settling of New Zealand. Instead of presenting a view of early European settlers as only opportunistic imperialists it also presents many of them as finding refuge in a remote, strange new land and their coming to terms with it as ‘natural occupancy.’ Hardy also creates a link between the act of writing for these settlers and the notion of property. She posits these writings as acts which have physical repercussions in the framing of the land and the histories which it forges. This contact with a new place and way of life is one which Hardy associates with dispossession rather than possession. The essay is peppered with references to other texts which allude to these types of encounters, seeming to present them as an alternative discourse to past colonial texts which have had contained imperialist subtexts. These examples include the novels A Fringe of Leaves and Symmes Hole, the film The Piano and the journal kept by early New Zealand settler James Heberley. All of these texts contain similar narratives about the encounters with the indigenous ‘Other’ and the (necessary) abandonment of the culture from which the settlers originate.

    While Hardy notes that these types of encounters aren’t malevolent in their desire to exploit the encountered culture, they ultimately end up framing their experience in a Eurocentric way. While addressing the issue in a strictly Antipodean sense (all the texts dealt with are from/about New Zealand or Australia) it does bring to mind encounters with new lands and people in other parts of the globe, such as the collision between European and African cultures in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, which explores the repercussions to both groups through this encounter. In the end it was an engaging essay which describes how writings can have a very real impact in the way they shape both the physical world and society.

  5. I found this weeks topic of settler colonialism and the space of the ‘new home’, along with Hardy’s ‘Natural Occupany’ reading very interesting. (It was also very fortuitous as we are currently reading novels about imperialism in my Victorian Literature paper). I was born in New Zealand and have ancestors who emigrated from the England, Ireland and Denmark during the period in which NZ was undergoing its original ‘makeover’ from an ‘undiscovered’ Maori land to a European settler colony. I have also always been very interested in genealogy so found Stephens ideas and the discussions in lectures fascinating and quite close to home. Its strange the involvement you feel when people are talking about a country you see as ‘yours’. At the same time, I agree that New Zealand is lacking an authentic, strong sense of cultural and national identity- this is something I have been feeling more and more over the last few years. In Year 12 I went on an exchange to France and spent some time in a lycée (high school) in Dijon. During an English class the teacher asked me and a couple of others to talk to the French students in English about the New Zealand culture, culture being the topic they were learning about. To be honest, I was at a loss….things that came to mind were pavlova, fish and chips and rugby (which Im not exactly a huge fan of). The teacher then asked us “what about the maori culture?” We knew a few things and told the class a bit about it but to be honest I have no attachment to the Maori culture, I don’t feel like it is my culture, yet it is what most New Zealanders think of, or are made to think of by governments, advertising, tourism etc in relation to culture. I think there is a lack of cultural and thus national strength in New Zealand precisely because we are looking towards the past and using the culture of a minority as somewhat of a stand in. Im not anti-Maori or anti-minority at all, but I do wonder will we ever accept or forget the past and move on? Can we re-imagine a New Zealand defined by the sum of our diversity instead of just part of the whole?

  6. 1470610

    Natural Occupancy was a very confusing read. The way that Linda Hardy wrote about other texts, without giving any context made her seem smug, like you had to be as intelligent and well read as her to fully grasp the meaning of her writing. I tried to Google some of the texts, but they were so long and I really had no clue which parts she was referring to in those texts, this made it frustrating to read.

    The only part I could get a semi-coherent understanding of was “A New People.” I find that (what I assume) are accounts of the trade between Maori and Pakeha in terms of land were so vague. I suppose because of the society that we live in that we are used to having boundaries and borders. Also, because I am European I have never considered that all land was at some stage tribal land and there were no fences to keep the other tribes out. I do feel that there is a sense of entitlement from the Europeans, as they were concerned about the Maori reselling the land if they couldn’t remember what land they had already sold. This I would suppose would be a type of capitalism. However, again, there is a massive amount of confusion because I don’t know who “The New Zealand Company” is, and what relevance they have to any transactions that are being spoken about. So I understand around 2 lines of that paragraph.

    I hesitate to brand the piece any one label, in some ways it is a story, it could pass as a journal article or part of an academic book. If it is part of something larger that maybe should have been read before this piece then maybe the lack of context is understandable. As it stands now however, it is a series of mismatched writings and I finish off not even knowing if the characters are true.

  7. jfin943

    One line that especially stood out to me from this article was “its shameless zeal to corrupt a world aboriginally ‘new’ and original’ by importing to it the enervated civility and class based arrogance of the old” (222), a quote from Symmes Hole. It seems that this is what is occurring, and has occurred for hundreds of years with imperialism (“Heart of Darkness”!), though people may not realize it. When Ada brings her piano to the island in the movie “The Piano”, the other colonist views it as a burden. He claims that those who settle there do not need to bring such a cultural-specific item with us. Instead, they should help form their own culture, and thus create what he calls a “natural occupancy”. This is an interesting and controversial term because of the difficulty in determining what is “natural” versus what is “unnatural”. We cannot erase our past, and in settling a new country, we bring with us all that we have previously learned; this helps us to create the culture for this supposedly “new” society. However, the society is not in fact new if there are already people living there.
    At what point does something become culturally specific and relevant? And why is one culture more “valid” than another? In America, there were already people living there (Native Americans), but we still celebrate Thanksgiving, the day Columbus discovered America. This holiday comes to celebrate the territorialisation of America, which in reality is actually RE-territorialisation, as there were already many Native Americans living there! We come to establish a truth about the way society was founded that is not necessarily true, because it is impossible to determine when exactly the “right” society was founded and of what this specific culture consists. Instead, colonization blends these cultures together.

    • jfin943

      I use the term imperialism instead of settlment because in most cases, people are already living on the land. This is why I think it is interesting how all people try to preserve their own culture; I think this is impossible, as people and land are constantly changing, at any specific moment it is hard to pinpoint what is part of one culture vs another.

  8. Sophie Morgan

    An aspect of Lynda Hardy’s “Natural Occupancy” that particularly caught my attention was its handling of the idea of colonialism. Hardy makes reference to the story of James Worser Heberley in Ian Wedde’s “Symmes Hole”, and the horror and contempt that he felt upon arriving on the recently colonised New Zealand shore.
    Hardy highlights Heberley’s “apprehension”, citing his proclamation that these colonised lands were now “steeped in human blood” and confusion as to how the colonists couldn’t know that “the land [they] bought didn’t belong to anyone in a way that meant they could do that?” It is also mentioned that the colonists viewed New Zealand as an “untenanted exploitable resource.”
    This part of Hardy’s essay (“A New People”) was perhaps the only chapter of the text that managed to both capture my attention and to maintain it. The deeply problematic nature of colonialism is something that I feel very strongly about, and I am very thankful that University courses tend to discuss colonialism from native points of view; as opposed to the indisputably Euro-centric perspective that we are generally taught in secondary school.
    I was further intrigued to read on and find Hardy referring to Heberley’s “half-horrified and half-incredulous recognition” of the incentives of colonialism and its grounds in “class-based arrogance.” Lynda Hardy appears to hint, as the “A New People” chapter comes to an end, that New Zealand history, or at least how it were written, could have been vastly different had the Heberleys not “faded into ‘the rumour of another history’.” I believe that this notion is particularly worthy of consideration.

  9. The bizarre musical score introduction to the Deluze & Guattari (2008) Rhizome reading is a real attention- grabber and the same time so destabilising and challenging. And more than a little alarming as it obviously cuts across the usual conventions of musical notation and order. Our perception is turned upside down by Sylvano Bussoti’s music manuscript which seems determined to rattle viewers and leave them squirming with discomfort and disquiet. Not unlike graffiti, the chaotic graphic is a jagged, jarring confrontation at the beginning of a challenging hypothesis for defining and designating territory and space. The rogue, runaway proliferation of zigzagging lines jutting out aggressively, while in other places it entangles in a knotted mess like varicose veins seizing up. But it does seem to neatly encapsulate the rhizomic writing style of the entire article which flows together in a stream of consciousness. Even so, the article is a demanding one to decipher. It is open slather as every sense of order takes flight out the window. The rhizome is clearly an alliance of connectedness that is positioned in the middle moving in between things, or happenings, or events. According to Deluze and Guattari, a rhizomic stream of thought has no beginning and no end. The rhizome seems the perfect metaphor, albeit a brazen one, for the entire universe and our existence, in fact it feels all-inclusive of our complete ‘being’. A world without end that goes on for ever and ever, and like the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning is the end. When the galaxies finally implode, physicists tell us, matter will revert back to the origins of the big bang, then start all over again. However, it is not clear what the chaos of the music score graphic communicates to anyone else other than the composer and that makes it seem rather exclusive and introverted. If someone’s handwriting looked like that you would be forgiven for thinking they were seriously disturbed! – Fraser Bowen

  10. tste660

    The term ‘Natural Occupancy’ itself, requires investigation. To naturally occupy the land is one of the questions observed by Hardy’s text. Once settlers have been there for long periods of time, do they become natural occupants and become “faded into ‘the rumour of another history’?”. At what point can a person claim the land to be theirs?

    Hardy’s article links well to the lecture and tutorial, questioning what is a New Zealander? There is a distinct difference between settling and colonizing, which has opposing connotations connected to the terms. As Europeans bought their way of life and planned to alter the land to suit the urban orientation they were familiar with, there is a negative connotation attached to colonizing. In comparison, Maori people are arguably more innocent settlers, due to their views of respecting the land and the little impact they had. Yet, prior to the Maori settling in New Zealand, there is no knowledge of how the land was. Therefore, the Maori could have altered the landscape or repressed other occupants in a similar way to the Europeans, yet they are not seen as negative colonizers as Europeans are.

    The idea of who is the ‘natural occupant’ continues to be seen in contemporary New Zealand society. There is an extreme multicultural society, particularly in Auckland, which creates a barrier between those who have recently migrated, as oppose to those who are 2nd, 3rd or 4th generation New Zealanders.

    In my experience, when talking to a person who looks foreign, it is common to ask where they are from. If they reply “I am from New Zealand”, it is as if this is not accepted, as there is often a reply of “No, but where are you from?”. What is meant is that you cannot be from here because you don’t look the way I do (despite myself only being a 2nd generation New Zealander). For example, I have a friend who physically looks Asian, yet was born here and does not associate with his Asian heritage. Yet, in my mind he is still not a ‘Kiwi’. However, his dad is a keen hunter and goes on weekend trips, has taxidermy stag heads ect. On reflection, it is because of this I started to think of their family as more of a ‘Kiwi’ family, based on the trope of the ‘tough Kiwi bloke’, who goes hunting and drinks Speights. Despite the majority of European looking or even Maoris not participating in such activities, there is a definite trope one must fulfill (or have a long family history in New Zealand), to be considered a ‘true Kiwi’.

  11. Bruce Chatwin’s ‘Nomadic Alternative’ (1996) addresses the question of ‘why men wander rather than remain still?’ The answer could be that it is because we have been given the faculty and freedom to choose with our restless, mercurial minds that inevitably impel and prompt the motion. Chatwin refers to his as a “neurotic restlessness and an “urge to explore”. Apparently, we all have hat innate quality but a true nomad, he tells us, doesn’t have the compulsion to return home to a civilised striated existence. They follow the “unalterable paths of migration.” The rest of us, and the semi-civilised half-nomads, interfere with these pathways of motion chartered by the transitory true nomads and this causes chaos. It seems to be a clash of the exclusive systems and agricultural systems of civilisation’s bullying bureaucracies with the more natural and cyclical alternative of true pastoral nomadism with their herds, and always on the move. Agriculture is abandoned by the lifestyle of the nomadic tribe in favour of being permanently on the move with heir grazing animals which provide meat, milk and furs. It is this natural life, Chatwin suggests, which civilised men crave for. Only those who have “resisted” civilisation’s oppressive strictures are really attuned to the “secret to happiness”.
    In an increasingly digitised, hyperlinked and hyper mediated world we are losing touch with our naturalness at an alarming speed as we become progressively detached from the natural pace of life. Such as the simplicity of a brisk walk with our feet flat on the ground. This morning’s Herald revealed that New Zealanders are the second heaviest population in the world. The obesity epidemic is rampant. Chatwin insists that we must walk (p.103) and that our vegetarian primate days have slipped away into folk lore as we endure lingering guilt for the sin of eating animals. Chatwin also observes that while we have adequate food, we are running out of space. There are just too many people on the planet, which is probably why we are directing our migratory/nomadic wander lust out into the cosmos in search of earth’s mirror planet. Eyes are out for a preferably much larger version. The nearest is calculated to be around 5.6 light years away. Our space age nomadism may well be the astral vagrancy of the future, though it is easy to visualise communities of astronauts never returning to earth. And, of course, it will be a change of scenery and an adrenalin rush, with the “travel making the mind’. So asserts Chatwin.

  12. Nile

    ‘Natural Occupancy’ seems to flit from one subject to another without much care for smooth transition. It could be a personal grief with the piece but I could not maintain the same level of focus as I could with the other readings. I understand that it is essentially a grouping of different stories with the same underlying theme of, well, natural occupancy, but there could have been a little more attention given to exposing the links between them.

    Like a lot of other people it seems, I found most attracted to the section ‘A New People’. The potential for New Zealand’s experience to change is quite intriguing, especially at the close of the section where Hardy comments that “… the one chance we had at become an authentically ‘new people’ was lost when the Wakefields succeeded in writing our ‘official’ history…” To me this is emphasising the fact that so much of life is based around binary choices; whether to go out or stay in and the subsequent alternate timelines and strings of implications each choice offers. At the conclusion of ‘Natural Occupancy’ we read about a fictional exploration of this idea of alternate timeline in an Australian setting. Hardy comments that is is the “romance of the adaptable common man” which makes her suspicious as it has the “odd consequence of rewriting… the very culture that… [she’s] always experienced as massively dominant.” I think that this is very applicable to New Zealand culture as New Zealand was originally viewed as a sort of fresh start for migrants from England, seeking an exodus from the class system and various negatives of the social layout of England.

    My reading of the text was, overall, a difficult one. I can appreciate the ideas and thoughts of Hardy but the layout in which they were displayed did not appeal to me much at all and this changed the experience of the reading just enough for me to not appreciate the content as much as I could have.

  13. hand049

    Lynda Hardy’s text “Natural Occupancy” grabbed my attention from the get go. I found i was following it easy and it was very interesting. As someone who pretty much is always carrying a book around I found I could sympathise with the feelings of the man who went ‘fishing’ for his copy of Virgil on a sinking ship. Then the second page hit. Within the space of three (or four depending on how you’re counting) pages the author had jumped between their own writing and four other texts and the rest of the reading followed on in this fashion. There was too much jumping around! I felt as if the Hardy was trying to cram as much as she could into a few short pages and the effect was disorientating. It also did not help that I haven’t read or seen any of the afore-mentioned texts, but I’ve read many book which analyse books/film I haven’t read/watched and never had a problem, so I don’t think it was me.
    The overall idea I got from the text was that of “natural occupancy”: the ability to take away all cultural knowledge from a place and merely inhabit it, a.k.a. return to the natural. Hardy herself doesn’t seem to think this is possible and give examples of how whenever a writer tries to depict this all they see is a ‘natural’ land, with ‘natural’ being defined by the view of white people. Meaning ultimately that culture is now to thoroughly ingrained within ourselves to be forgotten and it will ‘naturally’ take the view of the dominant culture; that of the colonial invaders.

  14. jong893

    ‘Natural Occupancy’ made me start to think. Who are the natural occupants of a country? With borders opening up, every country is opening their shores to other countries. Multi culturalism is impacting every country. In fact, there are many countries not inhabited by their original occupants.

    When asked about New Zealand’s identity, I was unsure. The image I had of New Zealand was what New Zealand portrayed in its tourism advertisements. Fields of green grass, sheep and the natural landscape. However, every country has different sides to her. Living in Auckland, I have never seen any farms or sheep, or maybe it is because I did not drive out far enough. For me, knowing the New Zealand identity and culture would not be possible as I was not born here. However, it seems that culture and identity would vary throughout the country. People living in rural or urban regions would have very different idea of a Kiwi. I have tried explaining mu country’s culture to people from other parts of the world but it is difficult to fully understand a country till you live in it for a period of time.

    Having been born in Singapore, I would presume I would be clear of my identity. However, like New Zealand, Singapore was colonised and is still looking for an identity. Similar to New Zealand, there are so many diverse cultures. These cultures, over so many decades have integrated. Slowly, the nation is losing its original cultural identity and forming new ones.

    In fact, it is not just new countries which are shedding their identity. Every country in the world is changing and re-inventing their identity.

  15. I found Hardy’s essay very interesting, and one of the most accessible readings of the course. I even got to the end, fully expecting there to be more – a first in a semester where I’ve often flicked ahead wishing for it to be soon over. (Progress indeed! Albeit rather eleventh hour.)  

    Aside from Hardy’s illuminating analysis of The Piano (consistently in my top 10 films since 1993), what resonated in Hardy’s text was the notion that often settlers (or in my case, foreigners who move to a new culture temporarily) will minimise or even disavow the value/importance of their own culture, upholding the local/new culture as preferable in some way. I can see evidence of this as well as interesting contradictions in my own experience.  

    I lived in Singapore as a child in the mid-80s. I attended an international school that took children from anywhere in the world other than Singapore (albeit at great cost). As I understand it, this was not discrimination on the part of the college, but the choice of the S’porean gov’t who proudly and understandably decreed that there were excellent state schools in S’pore, and its citizens need not attend a foreign school.  

    The expat life in Singapore (as in other cities across Asia) exemplifies an interesting contradiction. Notably, we would eat local food in the most local of places, “where the locals eat” – God forbid you’d eat where the tourists go, and certainly any visiting guest from abroad would be given the “authentic” Asian experience. You see this all over the world – intrepid visitors want to where the locals go, turning their noses up at the McDonalds or try-hard touristic attempts at authenticity in the “tourist spots”. Even here in Auckland, if you see an ethnic restaurant bustling with ethnic-looking people, you think smugly “this is where WE will go”. You buy beautiful local furniture and aim for that “proper Asian experience”, replete with artefacts that will tell interesting stories about your time away once you return to your place of origin. You learn a few native words, even though everyone speaks English to make your life easier.  

    Yet also in Singapore, the expats hire locals to clean their houses and amah their children, not because the Asian way of cleaning or nannying is necessarily better or preferable (though it is cheaper), but because that’s what expats do. They join the American Club, the Dutch club, the British club, and hang out with their compatriots. They retain their points of difference, shopping for Evian in the brightly-lit Western supermarkets instead of the markets at the bottom of the HDBs.  

    While Hardy cites more extreme settler examples, where a new life begins in the new country and thus new tropes are adopted for good, it’s fair to say that across the world to this day there are expats taking the “best” of the local while retaining the preferable of the familiar.

  16. JL203 (1560712)

    Hardy’s “Natural Occupancy” aims to illustrate notions of New Zealand identity depicted from the film “The Piano”. I agree with the lack of fluency in this text which made it very difficult to follow however, I understood the foundation of its thesis through Stephan Turner’s lecture which is as usual very enjoyable.
    Prior to the lecture, I wasn’t aware of ‘culture’ being collectively constructed by pedagogy transcribing our sense of belonging and home. Our relationship to land and to NZ is built on conventions we read and extract from a collective historical memory drawn upon our landscape. As some of the class mates have been saying, Kiwi identity is ambiguous. Experiencing post-colonialism our nation now pride ourselves upon for example rugby, L&P, flip flops, netball and pavlova. Having been here more than half my life, I consider Nz my home, consider myself to be a kiwi and yet i find the country do lack some sort of cultural cohesion. NZ being famous with its tourism ironically present itself as a culturally cohesive nation particularly from the pedagogy experienced through Auckland Airport. Maori patterns such as the Koru play an important part to foreigners who without understanding the background of NZ can appreciate and understand. Despite this however, settlers and migrants living in NZ have some sort of cultural cringe and biculturism cultivating their identity. The NZ film “Blacksheep” aims to capture exactly this and satirizes what post-colonial NZ pride themselves on being considered a kiwi.Thus, Stephan has made a really important point begging the question: At what point in History to people consider themselves a New Zealander, kiwi or Aotearoa? In order for current image of NZ and what NZ comprises of (such as the NZ rugby world cup) a collective memory must be created for people to continue to believe. Yet, going back to nature, our behaviours and relationships drawn creating our culture is already unnatural and to some extent -vulnerable.

  17. thol354

    I enjoyed Lynda Hardy’s ‘Natural Occupancy’ because it explorers the colonial identity through examining a variety of early colonial narratives. Further, I found this reading was enhanced through the retelling of certain colonial narratives.
    As a European New Zealander the colonial narratives that Hardy uses as examples are a very big part of my ancestry (not specifically but I can imagine my ancestors would have been in much the same boat). Having a bit of light shed on the difficult transition between living on one side of the world which you call home then moving to the other side of the world to never return must have been terrifying. From this Hardy shows a glimpse of humanity in the early settlers giving me a greater sense of national pride because they went through the early hardship establishing the grounds for the place I call home today.
    In contrast to this Idea the lecture of the same week was somewhat negligent towards this aspect, instead focussing on the imperialist ideals and plans being the leading force to setting up a national identity, which to me somewhat made colonial country’s national identity seem artificial and void of authentic culture.

  18. tmcc050

    I found ‘Natural Occupancy’ written by Linda Hardy a bit difficult to read. The structure is confusing and Hardy uses reference to other texts with little clarification about them and at times it feels like I’m jumping to random chapters in a book which creates a lack of flow. This is mainly because I am not familiar with the texts that she refers to. Overall though, Hardy writes about white colonialism and the authorship of history and culture. Hardy states that the writing a of history tends to romanticize colonialism in terms of how colonists justify their occupation of land as land that is their own, and she takes examples from the movie The Piano, and the writings of the history of Australia and New Zealand.
    Our New Zealand culture and national identity is written in and defined by history books, and we rely on these historians to tell us who we are as part of a nation. Hardy acknowledges Gibson’s writing to give a slightly more clear understanding of what went on in the romanticizing of our history as described in the final quote that the dominant white culture is being written as the misunderstood settler looking for, and finding, a new identity.
    The term ‘natural occupancy’ is interesting. I question whether or not Maori were in fact the natural occupants of this land or the un-clarified idea that the submissive Moriori people were the first occupants who were nearly completely killed off by the Maori. Were Maori colonizers just as the Europeans were? Does the new dominant culture posed by Europeans depreciate that of the Maori as they did of the Moriori’s? With clashing views between these people it understandably creates problems concerning who rightly own or belong to the land. An example of this is that Maori believe that they are the protectors or ‘kaitiakitanga’ of papatuanuku (mother earth) which links to their claim of the land. Europeans on the other hand believe that putting resources or performing labour on the land allows them to claim it.
    These continuous conflicting views also problematize what it is to be a New Zealander. What is a New Zealander? With the multi-cultural diversity of people being New Zealand citizens, it again brings the notion of the natural occupant. In the final tutorial I attended, it was suggested that we are New Zealanders because New Zealand physically exists. Without New Zealand we can’t be New Zealanders. I was born in New Zealand and I am proud to be New Zealander and yet when I get asked where I am from I reply that I am Niuean. The thing is that I am not just Niuean but a “fruit salad” from other countries namely Scotland and Ireland out of many which explains my surname “McCoy”, and yet I strongly associate myself as Niuean. I think this is because I feel more attached to my Niuean culture. I am accustomed to its traditions including language, dance, coming of age ceremonies, even our glorious food. Just recently I found it weird that I called Niue home, I guess it’s the spiritual connection I have not just with the land, but the people that occupy it as well. What is funny is that Niueans are a part of New Zealand as we are New Zealand citizens even if born in Niue. A shortened relevant historical tale of my family is that my great-great grandfather was one of the last kings of Niue named King Fataaiki who wrote to Queen Victoria to be placed under British protection which was initially turned down but over time was granted in 1900 and then passed on to New Zealand in 1901. This is why our flag which was designed by my grandfather Ikitule has the Union Jack on it with the Southern Cross placed within it to represent the relationship we have with New Zealand. I believe that saying that I’m Niuean also means that I am New Zealander at the same time. I apologise if this response went on a tangent into more of a reflection of my own identity.
    Tmcc050
    #5527581

  19. 9925747

    Due to Francis’ gracious spirit this blog is about the one I missed by Carolyn Korsmeyer. Delightful, Delicious, Disgusting.
    I enjoyed reading this article about food, perhaps because at times I live to eat. I do not fully agree with the concept of the higher senses being sight and hearing and the lower senses taste, touch and smell. It is all a matter of perspective. Human activity requires a lot of sight to enjoy much of what the world has to offer, like seeing the Grand Canyon, skiing in Queenstown or seeing Miss World. Yet there are many blind people who seem to manage without sight. But to live without taste, which I have never heard of, this I could see as worse than sight. If you can not taste what you eat or drink it is only to your imagination and to see how other people react. Yet how could you imagine a taste that you have never tasted? You could literally eat, drink anything and suffer the consequences. Consumption would become a menial task, whereas many people in developed countries chose what to eat and drink. You see many tv reality shows like master chef and the biggest looser are primarily based around the senses of sight, smell and taste. This requires three senses or trisenses to fully envelope the art of food preparation and what to eat. Most art on the wall only requires sight, one bodily sense to encapsulate the beauty. In food you can see that something looks tasty but its not until you taste it do u know that it tastes as it looks. The food could look good and smell good yet still taste bad. The worst case you could be eating what you thought was chocolate mud pudding yet was actually something from the bathroom. Without the lower senses of taste and smell, how could you know what it is? Whereas Art in the visual sense uses sight only, you can try and smell it possibly even taste it, but these senses do not help your appreciation of the work. Do you ever see someone get drunk on bad art? You appear to get many people who get drunk on bad tasting alcohol or even good tasting alcohol.

  20. Banksy’s “Wall and Piece’ (2005) is a stark reminder of what a visual-eye-sore Graffiti vandalism is and how loathsome it has become in our cityscape. The obnoxious attitude of the urban terrorists who call themselves artists remains beneath contempt. Most of what they deposit on private property without permission is hideous, egotistical, and narcissistic and seems to be an over-compensation for some lack. They demand attention and need to get right in everyone’s faces with their ugly glass scratching and sprayed scrawl. The self-righteous idea that “crime against property is not real crime” is laughable and a pitiful excuse for graffiti vandalism. Who enjoys commuting on our trains or buses with windows gouged by glass cutters and spoiling the vista? Or glass bus shelters smashed to smithereens.
    These vandals are fanatics and extremists who cannot moderate their behaviour for the common good. These creepy people are sullen, resentful sociopaths who have absolutely no empathy for the feelings of others. The cost to the Auckland council for restoring vandalised property runs into hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. Damaging others property is theft by stealth and is habitually done under the cover of darkness. Imagine how these so-called “artists” would feel if they arrived home to their bedroom broken into by home invaders to find sticky, enamel spray paint and permanent felt markers spewed all over their walls, their carpets, their bed linen and pillows, and their TV and computer. You would hardly imagine them uttering such inane drivel as: “Oh, what a graphic artistic statement!”
    Ideally, cities and their suburbs ought to be tranquil, low-stress environments. To create something picturesque and unspoiled means striving for a utopian ideal. Part of the process means declaring a relentless war on urban saboteurs and any agenda to undermine that objective. Without the continual mainstay of law and order our communities will decay into something resembling the Wild West, or far below what they have already sunk to.
    Anti-social behaviour is inexcusable and should be punished, with restitution to injured property owners. Graffiti vandals are anarchists subscribing to the cult of chaos and lawlessness. It is mindless and imitative. Their riotous behaviour rampages about while most law-abiding citizens are sleeping. New York’s successful crime purge of the early nineties is an example of combating anarchy by fighting back with zero-tolerance of graffiti crime, burglaries, and violence.
    Trashing up our democracy comes in many guises and, arguably, advertising billboards could be considered the ‘commercial graffiti’ of our commodified cultural society. Crass advertising messages are considered fair game for witty ‘paint over’ comments which can raise a smile. Nevertheless, however inharmonious they can be, they still remain private property and are not a blank canvas to be procured by some political revolutionary or cartoonist looking for laughs. Some relief is provided by the Auckland Council and property owners who commission art work for the sides of buildings or to enhance parks and spaces with sculpture. The homage to artist Ralph Hotere, who died recently, painted on the side of the building near the Kingsland rail station, is an example of this patronage.

  21. 9925747

    ‘The terms on which Europeans can claim that ‘natural’ occupancy of the land, can feel, not that it belongs to them, but that they belong to it: Rule number one, know where you are….Rule number two, [know] who you [are].’
    These two rules sound very fundamental and wise. They remind me of the phrase knowledge is power. If you know who you are that helps in knowing what you stand for and may save you from a mid-life crisis. In terms of being in a ‘new’ – foreign country this is very important. In terms of Aotearoa, If you were a white colonialist being: English, Irish or from Yogoslav heritage that was markedly different to being Chinese. Having identified who you are or rather who you are seen to be by is vital to know how others – exisitng occupants, immigrants may treat you. It is a known fact that the Chinese when they came to New Zealand for the gold rush in the 19th century were treated abominably. They were othered, ostracized by the imperial forces and this dominant view was passed onto many of the existing inhabitants of whom also treated them in a similar fashion. Yet why did this happen? If you know who you are and where you are and have immigrated to a foreign country, does it really matter that other immigrants have come there too, probably for the same reason? Does it then become a question of competition? The Polynesian immigration into New Zealand in the late 20th century, followed by the Asian and South African influxes show that New Zealand is an attractive place to live. This despite an underlying discourse that applies to who you are and where you are and more importantly why people of non-white heritage often get othered in a country originally occupied by a non-white race?

  22. Juan Geyer

    I found this week’s reading to be rather difficult to understand. Hardy’s essay includes a numerous amount of texts, but the structure is written in a way that boasts little clarification of reference and therefore makes it difficult to follow. Other than that, there was one chapter in her essay that stood out: ‘Back to the Beach’.
    In this chapter Hardy refers to a story written by author Ian Wedde about an English sailor named James who arrived at a beach in Te Awaite on April 1830 to make it into his ‘home’. What is interesting about this story, is that it is written in two parts, the second about James’ “modern alter-ego who has read James’ journal” about his experience on the New Zealand beach. The man is sitting in the same spot that the journal refers to, but in another time.
    This makes me think about territory and how time can influence it. The idea of sitting on an uninhabited beach eating a “hot shellfish meal with potatoes and onion” compared to sitting at that same spot years later eating MacDonalds is a bit sad, and definitely reminds a person of the capitalist era that we are in. As Hardy puts it, “The cook-out on the beach is offered as an iconic sign….it evades capture by those advanced capitalist consumer systems”.
    The fact that the sailor James could live off the beach in the 1800s gives the reader a sense of what is meant by the term ‘Natural Occupancy’, as compared to the modern man sitting on the beach eating MacDonalds.

  23. mboh895

    I found the ‘Natural Occupancy’ written by Linda Hardy quite difficult to read. I felt the structure of her writing quite confusing. Hardy kept jumping in her writing from one piece to another; I felt I had to focus really hard on what she wrote otherwise I wouldn’t understand it. She kept introducing other texts like the ‘The Piano’ which is quite a complex movie and quite boring. If you haven’t seen the movie yourself you won’t understand what Hardy was saying which I felt was quite annoying because some of the texts she referred to I haven’t read or seen and therefore it was hard for me to understand.
    I’m able to relate to the part where she talks about the transition between living on one side of the world and then moving to another part. I use to live in South Africa and that was my home until we moved to New Zealand. And it was extremely difficult to adapt to the different culture and the norms here. Reading on I saw a glimpse of the history of New Zealand and I appreciated the decision my parents made. Reading about the early settlers made me wonder why so many people said in one of the lectures they don’t have national pride. Even I felt a little bit of national pride when I read about the settlers and their adversity with establishing New Zealand. I feel so fortunate to live in New Zealand and feel like quite a lot of people take that for granted.
    Overall I think the idea of colonialism was an interesting idea partly because in my first essay I wrote it was about the colonisation of New Zealand. Although this was a difficult piece to read I understood the just of what Hardy was saying.

  24. Abbey Strang

    The reading for this week ‘Natural Occupancy’ by Linda Hardy I found to be a slightly difficult yet intriguing text. I enjoyed the sequence about the shipwreck and using this as a catalyst to speak about furnishings, culture and the place these things take when looking at occupancy. Her comparison to other texts such as The Piano certainly helped drive the texts and welcome different interpretations and analogies in order to understand natural occupancy and what makes natural occupancy and the colonial culture associated with it.
    A quote from the shipwreck I found to be interesting and heighten understanding was “not possession but dispossession – to surrender furnishing of culture between the European and bourgeois is to come into the sensuality of a natural occupancy of the new land”. This helped me further understand notions of ‘first contact’ and the concept of occupancy without a colony. This way of living and culture I found strange but very interesting and inevitably made me think of the nomad and smooth and striated spaces. The use of taking furniture and speaking of furniture as culture is an interesting and effective form of conveying culture especially western culture. Possessions and belongings are constantly and progressively defining our culture so this text I feel is very relevant to help define our culture and thus understand it, just by our possessions and furniture. Perhaps if this text used simpler examples (the piano is hardly a light movie) Hardy’s point could be more easily understood and relatable.
    The Piano as an example was easily the most interesting part of the reading to me. The comparison to music and language was beautiful and not only helped you understand the reading more cohesively but also made you understand the movie more. Language as a cultural occupancy and using the piano as a language for Ada was very fascinating and marks not only culture through aesthetic, location, values and furniture but also through voice, music, love and silence was something I has never thought about before and found these ideas effective.
    Besides these points I find the reading rather blurred and full of difficult language, nearly jargon that I feel could be explained more easier, especially when explaining such convoluted topics within themselves.

  25. Acol 2199236

    This weeks reading ‘Natural Occupancy’ by Linda Hardy raised some interesting ideas however I felt my understanding was clouded by the huge amount of texts she used to illustrate her points. I was probably disadvantaged because I knew hardly any of these texts, or any of them well enough apart from the “The Piano” which meant I skim read a fair amount of. However, this text was a little easier to understand coupled with Stephens lecture. It seems, from the response of many in lecture and tutorials, that we as a country do not have a real cultural identity.When I worked in a clothing store in a westfeild which held a competition where you had to decorate your shop to be New Zealand themed for the Rubgy World Cup. The store opposite us did a display in the window where they put out a pavlova and dressed a mannequin in an All Blacks shirt. We had our mannequins holding rugby balls and toy Kiwis and other stores had similar decor. This made me think (apart from reliving the moment of winning and receiving a $50 westfeild voucher) is this what it means to be a New Zealander? A cake, a bird and a rugby team. Maybe I’m in fear of using to many examples like Hardy, but I’m sure we’ll all know this one. I also thought of the 2 degrees add where there’s an party happening in an old hall with the sign ‘Still #1 on mount Everest’ (or something along those line). This made me chuckle

    I really liked how Hardy compares the exchange of keys for visits between Ada and Baines to the exchange which ‘structure Maori/Pakeha relations’ in the film. This highlights the sort of relationship that Maori and settlers had in colonial times. It wasn’t about getting along or cultivating the land together, it was what they could get from each other. I thought the the landscape in this movie shows the contrasting relationships to land. Baines hut is set in the forest and he is comfortable as if he is a part of his surroundings whereas where Steward lives, the scene is half dead and grey. Furthermore, Ada struggles with the dense forest that surrounds her. She is suffocated. This suggests that Maoris embraced the nature and nature embraced them. Whereas settlers did not respect the land and thus, the land rejected them. This then could point to Maoris being the ‘natural occupants’ of the land but also could suggest that the colonizers the natural occupants because they deterritorialised the land and reterritorialised it to their liking.

  26. rmer982

    In the chapter, “Natural Occupancy,” Linda Hardy presents ideas of colonialism, culture and identity, using examples from literary texts and film. The lack of coherence and constant references to texts I had no familiarity with made it difficult for me to understand exactly what she was talking about for much of the time. She seemed to assume the reader’s knowledge of certain texts, which made it quite frustrating to read.
    However, I did enjoy some parts of this reading, particularly the opening story about the shipwreck. I liked the strong use of imagery in this section as it helped me to visualize the story and understand the point Hardy was making. The story presents the idea that when you move to a new land, you must abandon your cultural baggage in order to truly belong to the new land. Mr. Roxburgh was desperate to hold on to his edition of Virgil because it reminds him of his homeland even though it really has no relevance to the new land. On the other hand, his wife does the opposite as she is free and wants to start fresh. Hardy links the story to the idea of ‘natural occupancy.’ She says, “To surrender the furnishing of a culture both European and bourgeois is to come into the sensuality of a ‘natural occupancy.”
    If a person is so attached to their cultural furniture then it causes them to be tied up in their past rather than moving on to their future. In any transition from one culture to another, you must assimilate to the new culture’s customs and practices and abandon the trappings of your previous culture if you want to feel as if you are really a part of this new culture. I did this when I moved to New Zealand from the Caribbean. Even though these cultures are very different, I adjusted to the lifestyle, customs and practices of New Zealand and I now have a sense of belonging here and feel like a New Zealander.

  27. Julian

    To be perfectly honest I found this piece by Linda Hardy to be one of the more difficult readings in the course thus far. Mainly just because the examples were hard to correlate to her theories of ‘natural occupancy’. Especially puzzling were the first two sections which I found to be quite fragmented. Hardy’s process was hard to gauge at times. However, what I did find interesting was her thoughts, around colonialism, contact and this MO of a dispossession which is repossessed and then transposed in another space. I did really find the section on ‘A New People’ very interesting particularly the thought of settler importation of not only materials but rather ideas, visions and separate realities. Furthermore, I thought that the piece on vernacular writing was highly relevant to the lecture. The importance of names as a claiming a repossessing or re-territorialising something which existed but has been taken over by another. What else I found very enlightening was her inclusion of a certain modernist ethos within the context of ‘natural occupancy’. Hardy does allude to certain aspects of occupation within particular discourses of the journal and the engages with classics. Yet, her subversion to delve into theories as to what constitutes occupation and how it emerges is somewhat strained. There is a sense of unveiling in the end though because she does reinforce her belief that one must retreat back and rewrite or rethink historiography to accurately access the present and attain an understanding of natural occupation. All in all certain parts of the article were conducive and some were hard for me to assess and properly understand.

  28. One particular idea caught my attention in this essay. It’s the idea that measurement, science and technology, these 21st century icons of progress and human achievement have been incredibly instrumental in global damage. Things like nuclear weapons and the like are obvious. Yet if we return to the more muted colonial setting, these can be found to be powerful devices in the hands of the relevant colonial force. Word and number are used to concretely give and take away, exampled in the purchase of land from the indigenous. Chatwin’s comment about the growth of words and numbers alongside other repressive acts, such as the slave trade springs to mind. Thus, colonization systematises and orders its way along, ‘reformatting’ the country and it’s construct in a format familiar to the colonial and foreign to the indigenous.

    This ‘reformatting to the familiar’ can be seen in the naming of places in New Zealand. Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch: all named after the familiar. ‘New’ Zealand -a reboot of Zealand. As Hardy describes it, it is ‘a desire to displace Native.’ Yet this is where the colonial model runs into trouble. That which they see as superior clashes with the indigenous entity. While colonials seek to categorise and divide land, the Maori’s vision of land as living and fluid proves problematic to the eager colonial buyer. Wakefield seemed genuinely perplexed about the utter lack of boundaries that the Maori held. In this instance we see two completely different ways of looking at occupancy and ownership. This tension is still ever present, in various claims by both sides of the argument today. In this light, it seems that these are not issues to reflect on simply as history. Rather, they are such that they should be considered both for today and the future.

  29. lleg907

    Linda Hardy talks about issues of displacement, emplacement and identity in relation to culture. She discusses white colonialism and authorship of history and culture as history tends to romanticise colonialism, to justify claiming native land. Hardy does this with examples from popular culture and history texts from Australia and New Zealand.

    Our culture and national identity is written and thus defined by history. This means that historians play a key role in shaping our cultural identity. Hardy argues, through the writing of Gibson, that in romanticising New Zealand history, the dominant white culture has been penned as the misinterpreted settler looking for and finding a new identity. Stevens lecture touched on this in terms of New Zealand cultural deficit due to being a colonial settlement, especially a lack of a ‘one true’ national identity. The French know what it is to be French, but we have had to inorganically construct what it is to be a New Zealander, from a very small faction of history. This has given many an unnatural of ‘false’ identity, also as many don’t feel like they ‘truly are from here’ but neither do they feel like they are from anywhere else. In part, it is argued, our identity is composed from portrayals of New Zealand from biased history texts, which present a view in a positive light.

    In discussing the New Zealand identity, I think it is important to look at the issue of imposed values of the settlers onto the native peoples. I feel this is something Hardy could have looked more in to, as this is a huge problem in displacing people from relating to the ‘New Zealand identity’. The history books that Hardy talks of do not talk separately about the cultures of the natives and the settlers but instead sort of presents a strange amalgamation.

  30. Dominic da Souza Correa

    The perpetual flux of New Zealand identity continues, though some would disagree, as indeed some have. The same may well be said of any and all country-founded cultural identities (that they are being renegotiated, constantly), particularly in a globalised, post-colonial world, but in a country of such a small population and with such a short ‘New Zealand’ located history, perhaps it resonates more emphatically than for others.

    It is interesting that some Europeans suggest of New Zealanders that we have no history (I doubt I am the only one who has ever heard this); evidently for many New Zealanders their ‘history’ is the same as those self-same Europeans proclaiming its very lack, albeit in an individuated (local, singular, personal), amalgamated (global, multiple; cultural) form, and perhaps disassociated. Individuated in that those European trajectories will vary from person to person; amalgamated in the more societal sense, these personal European centred histories blended together – the localised, Old-Europe parochialisms don’t mean quite as much at this distance of separation – forming our (E)ur-history; and disassociated for the same kind of logic, in that they may not have so much importance for informing identities, though that last may well be unfair as many people place great value on their European roots. Some can trace their links back generations beyond what many Europeans can. For my own sake, I can personally trace (some of) my family back to the founding of Brazil and from the back to Portugal; I have heard also, though I cannot substantiate it, that an ancestor of mine was the first European to set foot on sub-Saharan Africa – I suppose you can say that I have a long history of colonialism.

    To politicise the matter more overtly (for it was already political; identities, indeed, identification, is only necessary for political purposes), it seems fair to say that work such as Wedde’s reads in some ways as a response to middle-class guilt for colonialisation; an attempt to rewrite, redress, reform. In a sort of “Native(Other)-Taming” binary creation where the benign, harmonious native is good, colonialists are bad, an odd, culpability-escaping, other-assuming settler figure is created, one that hopes to give a more harmonious, sanitised historical belonging to the settler story. The settler culture is inherently tied to capitalism, I see this reflected today in one of the few New Zealand cultural tropes that spans our multitude of origins; that of owning land. In this act resides the unease of the ‘belonging’ need. It is to inoculate oneself from this unease that one creates the mythology of ‘natural occupancy’. As far as cultural rewrites go, this “Dances With Wolves” like absolution, I find it unsettling.

  31. “Natural Occupancy” felt, to me, like an excerpt from a larger text, one that provided much more context and background than the story itself offered. I felt as if Hardy’s use of quotations and tie-ins with the settlers’ cultural relationship with writing was useful at times, but more often than not, made me question my understanding of the reading as a whole.

    Regardless, I was intrigued by Hardy’s discussion of what “natural” is, particularly in regards to cultural norm and national identity. As an American, I think my understanding of her text may be a bit different than others, and I think the observations I’ve made by living in New Zealand recently can add to that. Hardy discusses the culture lag of the New Zealand settlers–the difficultly breaking away from the cultural ideals and norms of their past country. I think the transition to New Zealand might have been a more difficult one for settlers in the past because it is a country that’s national identity has strengthened substantially in recent years, but that wasn’t particularly dominant historically.

  32. aham306

    ‘Natural Occupancy” was a colourful read with the numerous texts that Hardy invoked to illustrate her point. true though that there is not much contextual information surrounding their analysis I tend to think that they are sufficient in themselves. Hardy focuses on showcasing settler and colonial ideas, relations through these text. What intrigued me about it is the fantastical imagination attached to the ‘new’ land and people that was to inhabited and also the tensions between what the old and the new, in terms of thinking and cultural mannerisms.
    The idea of the ‘imagined’ homeland is one that Hardy suggest is fuelled by misguided notions advanced by romanticization. The idea that encouraged settlers to come to such a place as New Zealand was based on a virtual reality of what could be and what was should perhaps be taken into consideration when exploring why it is that New Zealand has such a fragmented, non definitive identity. The problem with the imagined reality is that is ‘encumbered by baggage’, be it literary, political, economic or otherwise. Everyone comes with their own virtual reality that the hope will become realised making New Zealand a boiling cauldron of the imagined. Hence when it comes to identity the only legacy the is inherited is that of the virtual. As an émigré to New Zealand in relocating I had no consideration of how I will be assimilating into a New identity but rather how that would serve me.

  33. A picture of life on the front, a rugged front with frustratingly persistent insects, densely forested landscapes and frightening locals. Linda Hardy in “Natural Occupancy” explores the symbolic features of colonial life through a handful of original New Zealand settler stories, these stories illustrate contrasts and features of what occurs when the culturally developed coloniser comes into contact with not just a people, but a land, that is ‘wild’ and ‘untamed’.

    Relinquishing the trappings of infrastructure in favour of a pioneer lifestyle, the colonial perspective trends towards being against the land, going to own, to sell, to make profit, a perspective that contrasts with the indigenous groups who lived with the land, whose cultures we subverted and assimilated. Their reverence and respect for the land in its undesigned state fading into obscurity amongst western cultural dominance, exploitation and development.

    What of the indigenous cultures are lost in that first encounter, that gap between the first front and the gradual ‘education’ of the local people, wherein we learn of an entirely organic culture through the filters of European history, can a documented culture convey the actual experience of living in that culture? The beliefs, the lifestyle, these things are lost almost as soon as the colonial front establishes itself, bringing new challenges, new problems, demanding radical adaptation. This isn’t to say that the new culture that emerges is lesser, as it must be to some degree the blending of the two, but there may still be elements, perhaps valuable, of the indigenous culture that have been lost in unrecorded history.

    The notion of owning land is one that is human created, ownership is something that has developed with culture, and there are instances in history when man’s relationship to the land is discussed as being observant, reverent, and often custodial, opposed to practises of ownership and exploitation. An example of this is Francis of Assisi in the Canticle of the Sun, in which he discusses man’s relationship to nature and the earth according to a God given sacredness possessed by all things. This is one example from European culture, but such notions are present in indigenous culture as well, such as there being no phrase or word for Ownership in Te Reo Maori. This way of relating to the land has the largest impact on an environment, and it is a facet European culture and colonisation, it would seem to be the mark of a civilisation that has forgotten how dependent it is on the land, and how much of human culture is built upon living very intimately with the earth beneath our feet.

  34. yzha961

    (Alas! I thought I had submitted this but I guess my browser stuffed it up :/ please excuse my lateness)

    I think the Treaty has been taught at every strata of my educational history by multiple people using multiple methods but I never paid much attention until my first year of University. Even then, the focus of my law lecturers was largely on the scholarly theories behind unjustified uses of judiciary power, what the Treaty might mean, what it should mean, what the Maori thought and what the Pakeha assumed. “What does it actually mean to you?” I wanted to ask but I chickened out. The lecturer was German. Maybe it didn’t mean anything to him at all.

    For me, it’s confusing. I feel sickened by all of the injustices Maori and other indigenous peoples have suffered, but I don’t have any solutions. More than anything, I’m not even sure if it’s any of my business. I’m Chinese. I live in New Zealand, but I can’t say I’m an authentic New Zealander. But I have a Kiwi accent. I can identify with many, but I can’t seem to qualify my identity.

    I have never really viewed New Zealand as a cultural mixing pot. It’s more like a container of water and oils. We are co-habitants of the same territory but I wouldn’t say we mix, because by way of proportions, the minority cultures would become lost in the concoction. There is such a huge (albeit justified) fear of losing these cultures to the Euro-centric that at times I think they are over-emphasised in terms of their independence, their uniqueness, their distinctness (who cares about political correctness anyway …). They are too inaccessible, too different. I realise that this it because I have not fully shed my own cultural luggage, but rather than losing that identity, I want to build on it, and add to it. I don’t want to fully assume the culture of another, nor do I want to restrict myself to one, so I’ll dabble, I’ll be however many parts of however many cultures I want, and at least then I will be authentic to myself.

  35. Jun Moungboon

    Linda Hardy’s text, ‘Natural Occupancy’ was difficult, sometimes tedious, but nonetheless informative and intelligent. The term ‘Natural Occupancy’ might mean to occupy a land without any force, naturally, to blend into the colours of another’s culture – but do we really belong to that culture? This reading had reminded me that I have wondered for a long time what culture I really belonged to.

    Hardy describes the difficulty of the transition between living in one area of the world where you have acknowledged it as your home, or something that belongs to you, and another place where you are forced to settle in and adapt accordingly to their culture. In parallel and also conjunction to this, Hardy goes on to describe the difficulty and hardships of the early settlers of New Zealand, and how they left their home land to fight for this land to be something that New Zealanders are able to call home today.

    Following this idea of homelands and moving out of them to find other homes, I was born in Bangkok and came to New Zealand when I was four years old. I speak Thai at home to my parents and English everywhere else. I did not learn to write in Thai before I immigrated to New Zealand. In high school, I started to learn Japanese, and later taught some Japanese students English. Therefore, in my life, every day I speak English, (formal) Thai and Japanese. I am sure that apart from speaking English, I do not belong to the archetypal ‘kiwi’ culture. As I have no knowledge of the Thai culture apart from the formalities that my parents have taught me, I seem to adapt more to the contemporary Japanese culture as I am able to read and write Japanese.

    Hardy really makes me consider if there really is a culture that we should belong to, or perhaps is there really a need to belong to a culture, or a single land.

  36. This was quite a bizarre reading, being made up of a collection of examples but with no conclusion or discussion to tie them together. Despite this the stories themselves are interesting. Having studied The Piano for english in high school, this story particularly stood out for me.

    Hardy suggests that Ada is prosthetically attached to her piano, however I would argue that the piano, much like Roxburgh’s book is more than just an object. Ada’s piano is her voice, it is her way of communicating with the world and as such she pours everything of her into it. It becomes more than an static object but a living one, an almost person. The importance of objects in new lands is therefore more than simply what you see or read of at first glance, they’re an extension of the person related to them. A way that that person can understand themselves in a new territory. Whether they choose to hold onto or relinquish those objects are interesting in of itself. The suggestion that Roxburgh’s wife was freer than he because of her lack of possessions is not quite true. She started out with a diary but chose to lose it at sea. That could be read as a decision to understand herself in a new way.

    These stories all come from the view of a dominant culture experiencing what they would consider to be a colony. It would be interesting to consider the same experiences from the view of a minority experiences the coloniser for the first time.

  37. T Young

    Linda Hardy’s “Natural Occupancy” is weird and I found it really hard to read. I’m embarrassed, as it seems most of the class enjoyed it. I prefer to write about the link it has with the discussions held in the lecture and tutorial questioning ‘What is a New Zealander?’

    I am proud to be from New Zealand as I embrace our multi-cultural occupancy. Everywhere you walk, especially in Auckland, someone of a different culture is walking the same path and it’s exciting to wonder of his or her story. I am of Maori and European descent however, when people ask me ‘what’ I am, I automatically reply, “I’m a New Zealander”; I am comprised of two cultures, but I identify myself as a New Zealander. It’s possible that the terms ‘natural occupancy’, ‘culture’ and ‘identity’ are being misconstrued or obscured among society and even education.

    The first school I attended was bilingual of English and Maori. It was open for all ethnicities, cultures and identities and it’s where I learnt that the word ‘culture’ is everything and anything that you believe in and wish to embrace. The mandatory English, Math, etc. classes were taught in English. Our Maori class was also mandatory – whether you were Maori or not – where we learnt the Maori language and about Maori history. I was a voluntary participant of team sports, the (English singing) school choir and the Maori Kapa Haka group. In addition to my family, the syllabus educated me how to practise both of my cultures simultaneously. I acquired the knowledge of where I was from and therefore, it was left for me to decide who I was and how to embrace either culture, if I wished to embrace any! In the years following, I easily, truthfully and concisely identified myself as a New Zealander.

    My two younger cousins, 11 and 13, were born in and live in Queensland with have New Zealand-born parents. Regular visitors to New Zealand, but occupants of Australia, they practise Australian and New Zealand cultures at their own will. But when asked if they’re Australian, the reply is prompt and proud, “No, we’re Kiwi’s!”

    When I ask the question ‘What is a New Zealander?’ I immediately believe that it is not those who were ‘first here’, nor those who are ‘born here’. It is not those who are solely of European or Maori descent. It’s simple. It is those who wish to call New Zealand home, and most importantly, it is those who wish to identify themselves as a New Zealander.

  38. ehor012

    While I did not particularly enjoy Linda Hardy’s Natural Occupancy, I was pleased with its inclusion in the course. Living in New Zealand these ideas of post colonialism, culture, and identity are important to discuss. What does it mean to be a New Zealander? In fact, what is a New Zealander? The people that live in this country seem to have only one thing in common, which is that they live in this country. New Zealand is made up of such a diverse group of people that it is impossible to state characteristics of a ‘New Zealander’.
    We as New Zealanders do not have this huge historical memory like other countries. We are a small, young country made up of a variety of people, most of us immigrants. There are many Pacific Islanders living in New Zealand and in my experience a lot of them feel that they have their ‘real home’ in the Islands. My co-worker has lived in New Zealand his whole life and yet he still refers to Samoa as ‘home’. But what about those of us who don’t have that luxury? My family immigrated to New Zealand and we have no connection with a ‘homeland’. This is our homeland; we have no other ‘home’. This can lead to a lack of identity and sense of belonging that plagues a lot of New Zealanders.

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