Museum and Heritage

Whose history? The politics of exhibiting New Zealand’s colonial settler history in Te Papa Tongarewa

National museums play a crucial role in maintaining and sustaining notions of national identity. This is done through exhibiting national narratives to the public in the form of history exhibitions. The museum acts as a stage for the nation to disseminate its constructed narrative to both domestic and international tourists while its publically accepted cultural authority provides legitimacy. Historical narratives bind a nation’s people together, creating a shared identity and fostering a sense of community, no matter how imagined. This is achieved through the nation’s peoples hearing, seeing and telling stories of their nation.[1]  Colonial settler nations such as New Zealand are relatively young, and the younger the nation and the shorter the history, then the more conscious and overt this narrative becomes.[2] Representing history is an inherently political act but when this representation is carried out on a national level, at a national museum in a post-colonial nation, the politics of representation become magnified. The legitimacy of national narratives is embedded in their relationships to particular representations of history,[3] but when the colonial settler histories of these nations is at odds with the national narratives, how do the national museums respond?  Can national museums balance their duty to both nation and historical accuracy? This essay will discuss the politics of exhibiting colonial setter histories in the national museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa (hence forth to be referred to as Te Papa), with a focus on the Treaty of Waitangi exhibit “Signs of a Nation.” The essay will argue that the contentious aspects of the founding of New Zealand have been downplayed due to Te Papa’s responsibility for maintaining national mythologies.

The subject of nationhood, nation building and national identity is one that scholars have ruminated on for centuries.  Museums studies, as an emerging academic discipline, has been quick to explore the role of the museum within these socio-political discourses. Due to the lack of available literature within their own field, museum scholars have had to take an interdisciplinary approach, borrowing from other established social science disciplines such as cultural theory, anthropology, media studies and political science.  To understand the politics of exhibiting colonial settler histories in national museums it is imperative to gain an understanding of what is meant by the terms nation, nationhood and nationality.  Benedict Anderson theorised that the nation is a cultural artefact that wields profound emotional legitimacy.[4] The nation, as Anderson conceives it, comprises of imagined communities, imagined because the people within it will never know the majority of their fellow members.[5] This sense of nationality is a constructed identity of which all members conform to some degree. The members share with each other a communal identity based not only on the fact they all happen to reside (or come from) within a set geographical boundary called the nation, but that these boundaries are constructed and reinforced by political and cultural institutions which install the members with shared general beliefs, attitudes and sentiments.[6] No matter the inequality or exploitation that may exist within it, the nation always elicits a deep, horizontal camaraderie.[7]

Professor Anthony D Smith defines nationalism as “an ideological movement for attaining and maintaining autonomy, unity and identity on behalf of a population deemed by some of its members to constitute an actual or potential ‘nation’.”[8] These concepts – unity, autonomy, identity and authenticity – form a discourse which is expressed through ceremonies and symbols. There are the obvious examples of a flag, coinage, capital city, war memorials and museums as well as the more subtle  examples of countryside, architecture, education practices and national recreations, to name a few. All of these symbols and ceremonies generate customs as well as ways of acting and ways of feeling which are shared, through a sense of historical culture, by the members of the community.[9] It could therefore be said that national museums aid in articulating and making tangible the ideology of nationalism through their display of the shared history and mythology of the nation by way of the curated exhibition of material culture. By displaying the symbolic concepts of the nation they are assuring the continuity of an abstract (or imagined) community.[10] Further to this, Smith outlines the political aspect in the formation of a national identity, which is one of the tasks Te Papa was charged with, stating that elements of nationalism have a direct political impact irrespective of the intentions of particular groups and the version of nationalism being rendered. National identity comprises of both a political and a cultural identity and as such is situated in both a political and cultural community.[11]

If a nation is a socio-cultural construct that is in constant flux then it stands to reason that this construct requires constant maintenance. The role of the museum in the maintenance of nationalism is one aspect of what Michael Billig called banal nationalism.  Banal nationalism, as explained by Billig, is the output of the nation’s ideological consciousness, that being a set of complex themes around “us” our “homeland”, “nations” (both ours and theirs) as well as the morality of national honour and duty.[12] These concepts form ideologically grounded cultural habits which enables the nation and its nation-ness to be reproduced. National identity is shorthand for a series of familiar assumptions about the world and our place in it, and overt reminders of nationalism are not enough to continually hold these assumptions in place.[13] Banal nationalism is a continued reminding of nationhood, however this reminding is subtle, familiar and so continual that it goes almost undetected.[14]

Museums are sites of transactions. The state, in exchange for the cultural and spiritual wealth it imparts through museum exhibits, receives in return a heightened attachment for the nation from the visitor. This is achieved through the selection and interpretation of the nation’s ethnic, historical, territorial, linguistic, artistic, symbolic and cultural components.[15]  It will never be possible for a national museum to depict the entirety of the nation, so in practice the museum actively constructs a specific historic and cultural concept of the nation through the inclusion or exclusion of elements it identifies as suitable for display and celebration.[16]

Representation of the national narrative is a double-edged sword. The narrative needs to be staged convincingly, especially when it is told through the use of material relics, as is the case with museums. To successfully convey the narrative the relics must be securely fixed to something beyond the material limits of the artefact alone. This can be achieved by tying the relic to something that has the appearance of possessing an inherent factuality, such as nature or biology. This instils the object with a truth value while efficiently covering up the fact the narrative is based purely on mythology and ideology, which are created by a complex set of personal beliefs, biases and tastes which are in a constant state of flux.  The irony of course is that by illustrating the national narrative with material relics national museums are simultaneously revealing the artifice of what they are portraying as natural.[17]

Museums anchor official memory by mediating the past, the present and the future. They give material form to authorised versions of the past and these “memories” then become institutionalised in the collective memory of the public. This process involves both remembering and forgetting. However, this act of defining what constitutes national identity no longer goes unopposed.[18] This memory, also known as history, is seen as a commodity that wields economic, cultural and political value. The ways in which history is represented are the subject of contestation and thus controversy, and this is particularly true in colonial settler nations such as New Zealand.[19]   The power of representation has long being recognised and utilised by nations but with a rise in identity politics in the latter half of the 20th century, so too came a rise in a demand from minority groups to not only be officially recognised by the nation, claiming a stake of the national identity, but also to exert more control over how and where they are represented.  These included ingenious, feminist, disability, LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) and civil rights groups. There was a worldwide increase in interest in social justice issues. These processes saw the use of history, especially official history, come under critical scrutiny. There came an effort from within the discipline of museology to focus on “history from below”.[20]

Within the museum industry this desire to keep up with social and political changes meant that it became necessary to address the power imbalances of past museological practices, which gave rise to a theoretical based practice called “new museology”.[21] One of new museology’s core principles is based on changing museums from elitist to democratic spaces, opening the museum up for a wider access and representation of diverse groups, and giving the public a more active role in controlling the curatorial and cultural function of the institution.[22]  Te Papa was built within the teachings of new museology; however, just because it adheres to the new philosophical practices does not mean that it relinquished its role as a national identity constructor. As we will see in the case study, the politics at both a state and a cultural level that go along with being a national museum are still very much at play in Te Papa.

To engage critically with Te Papa as a national institution it is important to understand the social, cultural, economic and political atmosphere in which it was born. Pākehā New Zealand, as a colonial nation, very much viewed itself as a utopic version of Britain.[23] However, this myth on which Pākehā national identity was based came crashing down in the 1970s when Britain began to disengage from its former colonies and establish closer ties with Europe. Suddenly New Zealand found itself abandoned by the mother nation and in the midst of suffering an identity crisis.[24] This Pākehā search for identity corresponded with a revival of Māori culture. While Pākehā were floundering and redefining who they were and what they stood for, Māori were reasserting their sovereignty.[25]

Throughout the early twentieth century rural Māori increasingly moved into urban areas due to opportunities for work in the manufacturing industry. This lead to large groups becoming disconnected from their traditional tribal affiliations and culture. From the 1970s this process of cultural fragmentation, in conjunction with entrenched institutional racism, led to a resurgence of anti-colonial activism.  The resulting political movement lead the way to the rediscovery and the legal recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi. In 1985 the Treaty of Waitangi Amendment Act was passed, giving the Waitangi Tribunal, established 10 years earlier, the power to investigate treaty breaches dating back to its signing in 1840.[26]  Prior to this Pākehā New Zealand had viewed itself as free of class and racial inequalities, unlike Mother England. With the rise of Māori activism, New Zealand was forced to acknowledge the economic, social and cultural fractures of a nation forged by colonial violence. [27]  In an attempt to reconcile these fractures, bicultural policies were imported from Canada. With the Treaty being officially recognised as the founding document of the nation, and the Waitangi Tribunal actively investigating treaty breaches, many Pākehā were left feeling defensive and suspicious.[28]  It is this challenging environment that the creators of Te Papa found themselves navigating.

The Dominion Museum, Te Papa’s predecessor, was not only full to bursting but no longer reflected the diverse community it was supposed to represent.  Emerging from the Colonial Museum, the Dominion became the national museum in 1972; however, by 1988 attitudes to the representation of history and national identity were changing. The government of the day responded by setting the wheels for a new national museum in motion. In 1992 the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Act was passed. [29] The act states that in performing its core functions of providing a forum in which the nation may present, explore, and preserve both the heritage of its cultures and knowledge of the natural environment, Te Papa must: have regard to the ethnic and cultural diversity of the people of New Zealand; endeavour to ensure that the museum expresses and recognises the mana and significance of Māori, European and other major traditions and cultural heritages; ensure that the museum provides the means for every such culture to contribute effectively to the museum as a statement of New Zealand’s identity; and endeavour to ensure that the museum is a source of pride for all New Zealanders.[30]  In short, Te Papa was to be a bicultural monument to national identity.[31]

Jock Phillips, a historian who was involved in the planning and implementation of the Pākehā history day one exhibits at Te Papa, discusses how none of the curators or historians involved in the creation of Te Papa expressed unease about being involved in a nationalist agenda, instead what they were concerned with was the how to balance the representation of identities and what those identities were to be.[32] Te Papa was forged during a time when there was a greater public awareness of the politics of representation and the inclusion of minority histories, and this also meant it was forged during a time of public backlash to the perceived political correctness-ness of life.  Due to the museological collection practices of both the Colonial and Dominion Museums Te Papa inherited a strong ethnographic collection, meaning that there was an abundance of Māori and Pasifika material. Pākeha who were already suspicious of the new museum became worried that their representation within Te Papa would be minimal. There was also a concern that the focus of their participation in the history of New Zealand would have a negative emphasis on the misdeeds of their ancestors.[33]

While the founding legislation of Te Papa never explicitly mentions biculturalism the concept was written into its policies, and was implemented throughout the museum from the exhibition displays to the design of the museum building itself.  However, there is also a general misunderstanding of the meaning of biculturalism, with many believing the nation to not be bicultural but multicultural when in fact the biculturality of New Zealand divides the country into two groups: Tangata Whenua and Tangata Tiriti (people here by the right of the treaty).[34] This gave the exhibition teams at Te Papa the unenviable task of having to tell the history of the founding of New Zealand, something of political and social importance and increasing scrutiny, as well as balancing the representation and implementation of the museum (and the country’s) bicultural stance.

24378 2.tif

View of the Treaty house, Waitangi. Whites Aviation Ltd :Photographs. Ref: WA-10335-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23157208

Te Papa is steeped in biculturalism and this is reflected in the design of the building itself which was conceptually designed to break the museum into two distinct spaces, one being Tangata Whenua and the other Tangata Tiriti.  On level four, which houses the history exhibits, where these two sides intersect is an (unintentionally ironic) awkward triangular space in which the exhibition about the Treaty of Waitangi was to be located. Just like the document itself, this space was to be an intermediary between Tangata Whenua and Tangata Tiriti.[35] The exhibition team now had more to grapple with: not only the contentious nature of the nation’s founding document but also the difficult space in which the exhibition was to be located. The issue of the treaty being interpreted in the national museum meant that this exhibition was subject to considerable political pressure, both internally and externally. A national museum is by its very nature is political and is not only tasked with presenting and maintaining national identity, but is also financially dependent upon the state. Te Papa is located under the umbrella of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and is therefore answerable to the government.  The original chairman of the board was a former labour Prime Minister and when he died the new National government appointed a leading conservative businessman, Sir Ron Trotter, to the role.[36] By appointing members of the board the government of the day directly influenced how national history was to be presented. Trotter, along with other Pàkehā board members, was very active in pushing his conservative agenda upon the museum’s exhibition teams. This was particularly noticeable in regards to the treaty exhibition, where the Pākehā board members dismissed several concepts based on their suspicions over how Pākehā were to be represented.[37] Ken Gorbey, the Director of Projects at Te Papa during the formation of the day one exhibitions, reported back to the treaty exhibition team that management felt secure enough to say there had to be a bit of provocation, however “people weren’t thinking of more than one provocative quote”.[38] The treaty exhibition was plagued with problems. Three exhibition teams were dismissed, the exhibition itself went through several conceptions, and on more than one occasion proposals were put forward to scrap the exhibition altogether.[39]

One of the biggest issues for the exhibition team was the nature of representation, with both Tangata Whenua and Tangata Tiriti being invested in the outcome. Members of both parties had very different attitudes to the treaty, as well as to their role in it and what it represents, which further muddled conceptual matters. Furthermore, evaluations undertaken by Te Papa showed that the public had very little knowledge about the treaty and the historical climate in which it was signed. [40] The exhibition needed to educate the mostly ignorant public and tell the story of the wrongs inflicted upon Māori while downplaying the transgressions of the Crown, as well simultaneously upholding the moral legitimacy of the document. The exhibition team were expected to reconcile all this in one awkwardly shaped exhibition.[41]

Because of Te Papa’s bicultural stance the Treaty exhibition was a necessity and as such it should have been a space where the museum was forced to engage with the contentious issues of the nation’s founding. However, even to this day it presents a muted-down version of events. The political nature of the national museum ensured that it mostly presents the nation’s history as apolitical.  This was also symptomatic of the nation and the museum’s biculturalism, in which Māori are presented as one homogenous cultural group who shared a common goal.  In truth Māori were comprised of differing Iwi and Hapū groups. These groups had their own internal allegiances and grievances and as such had differing political agendas that guided their interaction with Pākeha and the Crown.  This adds yet another issue for the museum to address when seeking to represent the actual political, cultural and historical climate in which the Treaty came about, as well as the events that followed its signing.  This process has also had a distinct impact upon how the Treaty is understood by the diverse public today. There are more than two identities to represent, and each come with their own contemporary political interest in how that representation is presented  in a  national institution and therefore on an international stage.

Even once it was installed the Treaty exhibition, now called “Signs of a Nation”, was still subject to changes. Originally it had a mezzanine floor, but in recent years this has been removed and the Te Papa library is now located in this space.[42]  In an attempt to contextualise the Treaty the exhibition team created “Pillars of context” which told, in their own voices, ordinary New Zealander’s opinions and thoughts about the Treaty of Waitangi. [43]  These voices, once hoped by Te Papa’s Kaihautū Cliff Whiting to measure the progress of race relations in NZ, are now silenced.[44] An informal discussion with a long serving Te Papa host revealed they were turned off some 9 months ago and the reason, he said, had not been communicated. The exhibition team had wanted the space to sit more as a forum than a classroom, with the different translations of the Treaty flanking a wide spaced area, which contains couches for the public to contemplate the meaning of the document. However, this space does not look like an exhibit on the founding of New Zealand, rather it more resembles a hotel foyer where people sit to pass time. It is not uncommon to see tourists and other members of the public using the space in this regard, in fact Te Papa even hires the space out as a venue for ‘cocktails’.[45]  Located in the back, in the narrow point of the wedge-shaped exhibition space, in the dark behind the large glass replica of the Treaty, one can find the core of the exhibition content. A touch screen, with multiple chapter options, delivers the historical information behind the Treaty and includes a section on the New Zealand Wars and land confiscations. There are no seats around this video display, and the sections are numerous and lengthy. It does not encourage the visitor to stay and listen. This inaccessibility of information is hidden behind the assumption of accessibility that is commonly attached to new media platforms. In opposition to the information dense video display, the rest of the exhibition is sparse of information and context. Panels only hint at the contentious historical and contemporary nature of the Treaty.

We can see how the agenda of the museum board has materialised in this exhibit. Ken Gorbey and other members of Te Papa’s board wanted to shy away from the historical and ‘tedious’ recounting of history and have a more contemporary focus,  while other members of the museum staff, particularly Māori, wanted the Treaty to be put in context. In a meeting Georgiana Te Heuheu, a board member, stated that “unless people get a sense of why it is that Māori keep on the way they are, then I think we’re likely to fail on that Treaty exhibition”.[46] However, once again, Pākeheā board members felt that too much context or a focus on the historical aspects of the Treaty would highlight the shameful aspects of New Zealand’s founding. The museum rationalised that not focusing on the scars of the past would enable the exhibition to foster a sense of healing.[47] One most note however, that a basic concept in therapy is to acknowledge, not deny, past behaviour in order to move on from it.

If you walk through Te Papa, you will find very little reference to the interaction of Māori and Pākehā, and what references are found are scattered throughout many different history exhibits. The national myth of biculturalism is one of an even partnership. If the museum actively displayed the New Zealand Wars, the land confiscations and other such events and issues, it would be failing in its role as creator and maintainer of the national narrative. This is primarily what board members were raising in their criticisms and concerns of what should be included or excluded in the treaty exhibition. The fragility of this myth is mirrored in the insecurity of Pākehā New Zealander’s identity. To draw attention to the events and effects of the colonisation of New Zealand is to destabilise the perception to Pākehā that they have a legitimate claim to New Zealand, its land, to being a New Zealander and their right to embody that all-essential New Zealandness. Respondents outlined this innate fear in the “signs of a nation” evaluations, pondering if Treaty settlements would mean that Pakeha would have to leave the country.[48]

By presenting a history of New Zealand that lacks depth and context, Te Papa is not only catering to the insecurities of Pākehā identity, but also preventing the nation from turning biculturalism from a convenient cultural myth to a lived reality. This sanitised version of history keeps the letters to the editor to a minimum and presents the nation’s best face to the tourist market. However, it simultaneously validates Pākehā’s inherent belief that the colonisation of New Zealand was carried out by their ancestors in a moral way, whilst silencing Māori voices of dissent. Pākehā are given little context to understand how the history of the Treaty affects the nation today, including the lingering negative effects of colonisation on contemporary Māori. This lack of understanding, it should be noted, is a failure on a national level by multiple national institutions. A national museum cannot be expected to bridge this information gap on its own. However, without placing the Treaty into a historical context Pākehā will struggle to understand “why Māori keep on the way they are”.[49] Te Papa tried to balance its intellectual conceptions of new museological practice with its role as a national museum, however the politics of colonial settler history and its far reaching effects proved too much. The contentious nature of the Treaty ensured that the exhibition was always going to be challenging. The added pressure of the political, cultural and social importance of it, combined with it being located within a new national museum (which received considerable public funding) was reflected in the final exhibition display. The original exhibition team may have been short of time, yet 15 years after Te Papa’s opening the exhibition has not received improvements. The planning, creation, treatment and continued interpretation of this exhibition mirrors the national sentiments towards the Treaty in a way that Te Papa perhaps never intended.  While Te Papa does not completely neglect the difficult aspects of the nation’s founding, it does downplay them. References to the less savoury incidents and behaviour are scattered throughout various history exhibits, lacking context and elaboration.

More and more museums are under pressure to present politically palatable histories, no more so than when they are a national museum.[50] The trust of the public in the authenticity of the institution means that its truth value is taken at face value. Thus the history represented becomes official, and this official history helps form, disseminate and maintain the narrative of the nation. By downplaying the tangled and difficult settler history Te Papa is playing its role as national museum; by mediating the past it is upholding New Zealand as an imagined community living in harmonious biculturalism.

Featured image credit: Treaty of Waitangi. Dominion post (Newspaper) :Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post and Dominion newspapers. Ref: EP-Ethics-Waitangi Day and Treaty of Waitangi-03. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23090536


[1] Bain Attwood, Telling the truth about Aboriginal history (Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin, 2005) 12.

[2] Peter Aronsson, “Explaining national museums: Exploring comparative approaches to the study of national museums” in National Museums: New studies from around the world ed. Simon J. Knell et al. (New York: Routledge, 2011) 47.

[3] Brian Graham, Gregory John Ashworth and John E. Tunbridge, “The uses and abuses of heritage” in Heritage, Museums and Galleries: An Introductory Reader ed. Gerard Corsane (New York: Routledge, 2005) 31.

[4] Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 1991) 4.

[5] Anderson, Imagined Communities, 7.

[6] Phil Hubbard and Rob Kitchin, Key thinkers on space and place (London: Sage Publications, 2004) 17.

[7] Anderson, Imagined Communities, 7.

[8] Anthony D. Smith, National Identity (London: Penguin, 1991) 73.

[9] Smith, National Identity, 77.

[10] Smith, National Identity, 78.

[11] Smith, National Identity, 99.

[12] Michael Billig, Banal Nationalism (London: Sage Publications, 1995) 4.

[13] Billig, Banal Nationalism, 92.

[14] Billig, Banal Nationalism 8.

[15] Marzia Varutti, Museums in China: The politics of representation after Mao (Martlesham: Boydell Press, 2014) 77.

[16] Julia Waite, “Under Construction: National identity and the display of colonial history at the National Museum of Singapore and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa” (MMHS diss., Victoria University of Wellington, 2008) 10.

[17] Donald Preziosi, “Myths of Nationality” in National Museums: New studies from around the world ed. Simon J. Knell et al. (New York: Routledge, 2011) 63.

[18] Patricia Davison, “Museums and the re-shaping of memory” in Heritage, Museums and Galleries: An Introductory Reader ed. Gerard Corsane (New York: Routledge, 2005) 186.

[19] Attwood, Telling the truth about Aboriginal history, 12.

[20] Angela Philp, “’History wars’ in the National Museum of Australia” Teaching History (March 2004) 2.

[21] Rhiannon Mason, “Cultural Theory and Museum Studies” in A companion to museum studies ed. Sharon MacDonald (Malden: Blackwell, 2006) 22-23.

[22] Vicki McCall and Clive Gray, “Museums and the ‘new museology’: theory, practice and organisational change” Museum Management and Curatorship, 29:1 (2014) 20.

[23] Ben Dibley, “Antipodean aesthetics, public policy, and the museum: Te Papa, for example” Cultural Studies Review 13:1 (March 2007) 131.

[24] Jock Phillips, “The politics of pakeha history in a bicultural museum: Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, 1993-98” in Negotiating Histories: National Museums Conference Proceedings ed. Karen Ward (Canberra: National Museum of Australia, 2001) 146 -147.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Dibley, “Antipodean aesthetics, public policy, and the museum”, 131.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Dibley, “Antipodean aesthetics, public policy, and the museum”, 131-132.

[29] Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Website, Our history, (Accessed 20 August 2015).

[30] Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Statement of Intent 2014-2018 (Accessed 20 August 2015) 4.

[31] Jock Phillips, “Our History, Our Selves. The Historian and National Identity” The New Zealand Journal of History 30:2 (October 1996) 110.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Phillips, “The politics of pakeha history in a bicultural museum”, 147.

[34] Amiria Henare, “Rewriting the Script: Te Papa Tongarewa the Museum of New Zealand” Social Analysis: The International Journal of Social and Cultural Practice, 48:1 (Spring 2004) 57.

[35] Bain Attwood, “Difficult Histories: The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the Treaty of Waitangi Exhibit” The Public Historian 35:3 (August 2013) 57.

[36] Attwood, “Difficult Histories”, 65.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Getting to our place (documentary film), directed by Anna Cottrell and Gaylene Preston (Wellington: Gaylene Preston Productions, 1999).

[39] Attwood, “Difficult Histories”, 63.

[40] Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Corporate Records, Signs of a Nation Evaluations Tr35-19-5502, (no date).

[41] Attwood, “Difficult Histories”, 71.

[42] Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Website, Signs of a Nation, (Accessed 21 August 2015).

[43] Waite, “Under Construction”, 59.

[44] Waite, “Under Construction”, 59-60.

[45] Te Papa Website, Signs of a Nation.

[46] Getting to our place.

[47] Attwood, “Difficult Histories”, 68.

[48] Te Papa Corporate Records, Signs of a Nation Evaluations Tr35-19-5502.

[49] Getting to our place.

[50] David Lowenthal, “National museums and historical truth” in Negotiating Histories: National Museums Conference Proceedings ed. Karen Ward (Canberra: National Museum of Australia, 2001) 165.



Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso, 1991.

Aronsson, Peter. “Explaining national museums: Exploring comparative approaches to the study of national museums”. In National Museums: New studies from around the world. Edited by Simon J. Knell et al. New York: Routledge, 2011.

Attwood, Bain. “Difficult Histories: The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the Treaty of Waitangi Exhibit”. The Public Historian 35:3 (August 2013).

Attwood, Bain. Telling the truth about Aboriginal history. Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin, 2005.

Billig, Michael. Banal Nationalism. London: Sage Publications, 1995.

Davison, Patricia. “Museums and the re-shaping of memory”. In Heritage, Museums and Galleries: An Introductory Reader. Edited by Gerard Corsane. New York: Routledge, 2005.

Dibley, Ben. “Antipodean aesthetics, public policy, and the museum: Te Papa, for example”. Cultural Studies Review 13:1 (March 2007).

Getting to our place (documentary film). Directed by Anna Cottrell and Gaylene Preston. Wellington: Gaylene Preston Productions, 1999.

Graham, Brian, Gregory John Ashworth and John E. Tunbridge. “The uses and abuses of heritage”. In Heritage, Museums and Galleries: An Introductory Reader. Edited by Gerard Corsane. New York: Routledge, 2005.

Henare, Amiria. “Rewriting the Script: Te Papa Tongarewa the Museum of New Zealand”. Social Analysis: The International Journal of Social and Cultural Practice 48:1 (Spring 2004).

Hubbard, Phil and Rob Kitchin. Key thinkers on space and place. London: Sage Publications, 2004.

Lowenthal, David. “National museums and historical truth”. In Negotiating Histories: National Museums Conference Proceedings. Edited by Karen Ward. Canberra: National Museum of Australia, 2001.

Mason, Rhiannon. “Cultural Theory and Museum Studies”. In A companion to museum studies. Edited by Sharon MacDonald. Malden: Blackwell, 2006.

McCall, Vicki and Clive Gray. “Museums and the ‘new museology’: theory, practice and organisational change”. Museum Management and Curatorship 29:1 (2014).

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Statement of Intent 2014-2018. Accessed 20 August 2015.

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Corporate Records. Signs of a Nation Evaluations Tr35-19-5502. No date.

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Website. Our history. Accessed 20 August 2015.

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Website. Signs of a Nation. Accessed 21 August 2015.

Phillips, Jock. “Our History, Our Selves. The Historian and National Identity”. The New Zealand Journal of History 30:2 (October 1996).

Phillips, Jock “The politics of pakeha history in a bicultural museum: Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, 1993-98”. In Negotiating Histories: National Museums Conference Proceedings. Edited by Karen Ward. Canberra: National Museum of Australia, 2001.

Philp, Angela. “’History wars’ in the National Museum of Australia”. Teaching History (March 2004).

Preziosi, Donald. “Myths of Nationality”. In National Museums: New studies from around the world. Edited by Simon J. Knell et al. New York: Routledge, 2011.

Smith, Anthony D. National Identity. London: Penguin, 1991.

Varutti, Marzia. Museums in China: The politics of representation after Mao. Martlesham: Boydell Press, 2014.

Waite, Julia. “Under Construction: National identity and the display of colonial history at the National Museum of Singapore and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa”. MMHS diss. Victoria University of Wellington, 2008.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s