New Zealand has a complex history of biculturalism, from its origins in a putatively enlightened treaty between the British Crown and Maori iwi (tribal peoples) in 1840, through systematic suppression of Maori for more than a century, to a resurgence of indigeneity from the 1970s in company with official biculturalism in national and local government legislation. Views on contemporary biculturalism are diverse, including the view that it is only the latest strategy for maintaining white/Pakeha dominance. In this paper I identify and analyze contemporary understandings of biculturalism, with particular reference to the founding of a new national bicultural museum in the 1990s and a notable encounter between representatives of the cultures concerned. Subsequently, I relate the discussion to the postcolonial literature on hybridity, and attempt to resolve the problem of a perceived "essentialist rhetoric" in indigenous discourse.
|Keywords:||Biculturalism, Hybridity, New Zealand|
Senior Lecturer, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand