A comparative analysis of contemporary settler heritage managment practices: Paulette Jane Wallace, Approaching cultural landscapes in post-settler societies: ideas, policies, practices, PhD Thesis, Deakin University, 2015


Abstract: This thesis takes issue with the way that heritage is managed in New Zealand. It contends that New Zealand’s post-Treaty settlement environment, with its significant resource transfers and cultural redress for Māori, is exposing the need to move beyond the entrenched nature/settler/indigenous compartments that have so far dominated heritage management. It advocates that New Zealand needs to embrace a heritage management system that is open to networks that flow between natural and cultural heritage values.

‘Cultural landscapes’ is nominated as the conceptual tool to promote a more integrated heritage management approach. Yet, rather than seeing cultural landscapes as a way to shed light on a simplistic nature/culture binary, my analysis works to take the concept of cultural landscapes further than the heritage scholarship has done so far. Social systems theory is employed to interrogate how this concept is translated from a way of ‘thinking’ about heritage values, to how it is employed in the ‘doing’ of heritage practice. This body of theory allows me to frame a ‘cultural landscapes approach’ as a way of building a link between the realm of ideas around the concept of cultural landscapes, to its incorporation into the realms of policy and practice of heritage management. Thus this method of enquiry enables me to draw attention to how a visual focus on tangible forms and structures has dominated the way that the concept of cultural landscapes has w idely been considered, and how the ‘more-than-representational’ might open cultural landscapes up to the realities of the ‘contact zones’ of post-settler societies.

This thesis begins on a small island in New Zealand and journeys to Australia, the United States of America, and Canada, to investigate cultural landscapes approaches in action in these countries with similar colonial legacies. The research project follows a constructionist interpretive approach, with ethnographic methods, employing semi-structured interviews to learn from those who work in herit age management at each of the case study locations. The narrative returns to consider why New Zealand, the country where Tongariro National Park was listed as the first World Heritage associative landscape, has not disseminated a cultural landscapes approach for heritage management as widely as these other settler countries. From there the thesis recommends a cultural landscapes approach for heritage management in New Zealand.

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