CROSS, Melissa

MMus Victoria University of Wellington 2015 Pages: 155

The Forgotten Soundtrack of Maoriland : Imagining the Nation Through Alfred Hill's Songs for Rewi's Last Stand

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Alfred Hill’s songs based on collected Māori musical materials and narrative themes are artefacts of cultural colonisation that represent individual identities and imagined communities. They are tangible evidence of the site of identity formation known as Maoriland within which Pākehā construct imaginings of ‘Māoriness’ to create their own sense of indigeneity and nationhood. Although early twentieth-century Maoriland has been discussed widely in the arts and literature, scholars have not addressed the music of Maoriland, perhaps because it is heard today as the cultural form that most clearly expresses racialised sentimentality and colonial hegemony. However, Maoriland music can tell us much about New Zealand society if it is recognised as inhabiting an ‘in-between’ place where Pākehā fascination for the racial other was often inseparable from an admiration for Māori promoted by a knowledgeable group of Māori and Pākehā cultural go-betweens.

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