Merle Roberts



237.131 Week 6

Task 1:

In the passage, ‘Art’s Histories in Aotearoa New Zealand’ by Jonathan Mane-Wheoki he is talking about contemporary Maori art as “still categorised as, essentially, ethnographic.”(Mane-Wheoki, 8) By this, he is talking about the use of contemporary Maori art being put into an ‘indigenous’ art category in European countries, instead of being displayed as New Zealand art. This is a prime example as to how Maori visual and material culture was and still is strongly westernised. Contemporary Maori art should be seen as art, instead, it is categorised as an indigenous minority art form. In saying this in New Zealand many art galleries only display Pakeha art in which Maori art should have more of an importance to show respect to New Zealand history.

Works cited

Mane-Wheoki, J. (2011). Art’s Histories in Aotearoa New Zealand. Print.

Task 2:

wayne youle 1

(Wayne Youle, “Often Licked, Occasionally Beaten”, 2004)

Wayne Youle’s work ‘Often Licked, Occasionally Beaten’ is a humorous yet controversial title for his colourful resin hei tiki’s. The hei tikis are made to look like lollipops which match the playful title, and intentionally steer the viewer’s mind away from the true meaning behind the hei tiki. Youle is representing the way westernised New Zealand society views the hei tiki and how much the nation values it. He is also portraying the way the hei tiki is seen as materialistic instead of sacred. Youle’s work is an important reinforcement that Maori world views and culture are being destroyed because of the westernised society New Zealand has become.

237.131 Week 5

Task 1-Summary:

Making Peoples- A history of the New Zealanders by James Belich. Chapter 8: Making empire.

In this chapter, Belich talks about three main topics of British intervention, the treaty, and converting consent all to do with the colonising of New Zealand. From 1840-1860 were the years of British intervention. During this time the British government was under immense pressure to protect British trade and to gain sovereignty over the whole of New Zealand and to push the French out. The Treaty of Waitangi signed in 1840 is described by Belich as ludicrous due to the fact that “the English version was not easily compatible with the Maori version” (Belich, 194) as the translation difference between the two treaties were contradictory. Towards the end of the chapter, Belich talks about the selling and trading of land. At one point he reviews Maori wanting Pakeha to have their land as they believed Pakeha was how they would gain wealth and success.

Works cited:

Belich, James. “Chapter 8: Making empire?” Making Peoples: A history of the New Zealanders, from Polynesian settlement to the end of the nineteenth century. Hawai’i Press, 2001.179-203. Print.


Task 2.

The impact the choice of the first ever New Zealand flag had and still has on New Zealand culture pressures our national identity. The choice of today’s flag portrays the unfair colonisation and dominance Britain held against indigenous Maori. Over the years the design of the flag has changed to a dominantly blue flag instead of a specific red used sacredly in Maori culture. This is a representation of injustices against Maori in contemporary society.

237.131 Week 4

Task 1:

To Pakeha, Tapu can be described as a religion-like belief in Maori culture. The way Christians believe in the 10 commandments, Maori believe if something is Tapu it is sacred or prohibited. To believe in Maori practices and culture is to believe in Tapu, the two can not be separated. Being a young creative in New Zealand I believe it is important to have an understanding of Tapu as it is useful when designing and creating work. This ensures I know that what I am creating is not offensive or culturally inappropriate to the people who discovered and fought so hard for the land I live on.

Task 2:


To be covered under the intellectual property rights act artworks “must be fixed in material form”(39). This means that “oral traditions, including whakapapa, traditional korero, or moteatea (song-poem)”(39) can never be covered under intellectual property rights because they are not in a physical form. These laws are not enough to address the misuse of taonga works as Kaitiaki has as much value in a work its self as it does in the producing of a work, whether it is a verbal work or physical work. The Intellectual property rights law needs to reconsider their laws in relation to taonga works and the superiority these works should hold in New Zealand.

Works Cited:

Mead, Hirini Moko. “Chapter 2: Ngā Pūtake o te Tikanga – Underlying Principles And Values”. Tikanga Māori: Living By Māori Values. Aotearoa: Huia Publishers, 2003. 25-34. Print.

Tikanga Māori: Living By Māori Values. Aotearoa: Huia Publishers, 2003. 25-34. Print.

237.131 Week 3


6328, Moriori stone fish hook. N.d. AWMM. Tangata Whenua an Illustrated History. Auckland: Bridget Williams Books, n.d. 84. Print.

The art piece I have chosen to discuss is a stone fish hook that was created between AD 1200-1800, by the Moriori. Stone fish hooks like the one above were made in the Chathams, Pitcairn Island and Easter Island (Athol Anderson, 84).  Pendants were commonly made from pounamu which is a jade or greenstone, this particular fish hook pendant is made from stone. The similarity in the designs of the pounamu and the stone fish hook pendants are a visibility that Polynesian and Maori are connected and backs up the fact that Moriori originated from Polynesia. Fish hooks similar to this example were created to be used as neck pendants and were part of the broader Polynesian tradition of fish-hook pendants (Athol Anderson, 84). Pounamu’s are worn in a pendant form and are considered sacred. Depending on the design and carving of the pendant determines what the meaning behind it is.

Works Cited:

Anderson, Atholl. Judith Binney, and Aroha Harris. Tangata Whenua an Illustrated History. Auckland: Bridget Williams Books, n.d. Print.


237.131 Week 2


Fig. 1. Maker Unknown. Dark green/black serpentine pendant. N.d. Carving. Canterbury Museum, E148 79. Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History. Ed. Atholl Anderson, Judith Binney, and Aroha Harris. Aotearoa: Bridget Williams Books, 2014. 31

The art piece I have chosen to discuss is the green/black serpentine disc pendant found at Okains Bay, Banks Peninsula. Serpentine is a mineral that is most recognized for its green color, patterned appearance, and slippery feel. Serpentine is harder than marble, durable and easily accessible resulting in it being used for many carvings in AD 1100 and many decades after. The design carved into the disc pendant is said to illustrate the southern bluefin tuna. The two bluefin tuna carved onto the serpentine are symbolic to New Zealand’s north and south islands. This is suggested by the similarity in Maori and Polynesian culture and the historical beliefs of Polynesian culture implying that fish symbolize islands. Even though New Zealand is one country, the pendant shows two fish which are the two islands (north and south) being separate but are close to each other at the heads, representing the two islands being connected.

Work cited:

Anderson, Atholl. Binney, Judith. Harris, Aroha. Tangata Whenua : An Illustrated History. Wellington: Bridget Williams Books, 2014. 31. Print.




Assessment 3: WORKBOOK

Assessment 3: Final Blog Post

Runway models are the most apparent way to show how corrupt the fashion industry is when it comes to racism. In the 1970’s there were more fashion models of colour on the runways than there are in the contemporary society. People believe that racism in the fashion industry has evolved and come so far when in fact it has gone backwards and is worse than it was 45 years ago. Designers are not picking women of colour for their shows and this has a negative snowball effect on how the few women of colour in the industry are being treated. From makeup artists to hairstylists not being capable enough to work with women of colour, to turn around and blame the industry for not having enough of their ‘type’ is an unacceptable excuse for making women of colour feel belittled and unaccepted. Bethann Hardison, Iman and Naomi Campbell and three of the most influential women to look up to in the fashion industry, especially with their willingness to name designers that are encouraging racism by having few to none models of colour on their runways.

Mirzoeff chapter 7 in “How to See the World” talks about visual activism and how in contemporary society it is so easy to release visual activism to the word with the help of social media. We are able to share life issues and have people from all around the world comment and share their beliefs to connect with one another. The ability to do this has helped creatives critically think about visual thinking and the way to express world issues to make a change. When creating my poster I wanted to portray how transparent racism in the fashion industry is. I looked into the ideas around magazine covers and looked at a year worth of issues of the fashion magazine Vouge from 2014. When looking at all 16 covers only 1 and one-third of the covers showed women of colour, the other 14 and two-thirds were all white women. That statement in its self is enough to make society question why we value white women so much more than we do women of colour.

When looking for artists that portray racism I came to the realisation the fashion industry is the most common art when it comes to racism. There is nothing more obvious to the eye than seeing a runway with a 100% white model basis that the fashion industry has a massive issue when it comes to racism and equality.

When creating my own work within the fashion industry, no matter what it is or what position I am in I will consider racism. I would like to start by considering small things integrated with my degree that I can do to improve the way fashion is perceived. Thinking about how I would like my designs and collections to look, influenced by equality I would like to guide away from using the normal ‘pretty’ white skinny model. Creating this work and researching in depth into something I have always been passionate about has made me want to push further and do more to achieve equality
IMG_5256 (1)

(Merle Roberts, White Fashion, 8th June 2016, digital photoshop)

Assessment 3 Task: 3

When talking about the issue of racism in the fashion industry, I’m not simply talking about nasty things that are said to people of colour, or the non-confronted acts of racism that happen day to day. I am talking about how they fashion system is rigged against people of colour discriminating them from the opportunities and advantages that white people receive.

Recently there have been advocates for equality confronting designers that use one to none people of colour in their runways. Up until 2013, when confronted by supermodel Iman, the high fashion brand Céline had not once used a person of colour on their runways.

There are few spots on the runway for models of colour. If they are lucky enough to have made it they continuously fight to be treated the same as a white person. Model Nykhor Paul took to twitter to write “Just because you only book a few of us doesn’t mean you have the right to make us look ratchet.”(How Black Models Are Fighting Discrimination Backstage at Fashion Shows, In saying this Nykhor is talking about the lack of ability in makeup artists and hair stylists when it comes to making up a woman of colour. In the fashion industry, there is more to what the eye can see when it comes to racism. People think that because there are one or two women of colour on a runway racism is resolved, but this is not the case. Racism is dulled down by the industry when casting directors like Preston Chaunsumlit claim “I don’t think that the fashion industry is particularly racist. I think it is exemplary of how race works in our culture.”(In Colour, Trying to justify racism in the fashion industry as a day to day concept is in no way helping solve the issue at hand.


Works Cited.

Jessica C Andrews, ‘How Black Models Are Fighting Discrimination Backstage at Fashion Shows’,, March 2, 2016 12:53PM EST.

Erica Euse, ‘In Colour’,, February 11, 2015