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Online Course

New Zealand Landscape as Culture: Wai (Water)

Victoria University of Wellington via edX

Overview

In this course, you will learn about New Zealand’s water, or 'wai', and the cultural identities attached to them. We'll explore the lives and identities of Indigenous Māori people who can trace their ancestry to their awa, or river, as well as the European, Pākehā perspectives on water. Discussing how the different cultures interpret and relate to water.

We will delve below the surface to look at the unique geology that has created our watery nation, and the taonga (culturally prized possession) found within these waters. While also investigating the political, cultural and economic dynamics of our waterways.

New Zealand is a bicultural nation, and colonisation by the British in the nineteenth century produced a complex history and competing cultural ideas about landscape. The place of water in European culture led to conflicting beliefs about the ownership and status of water. This has implications today for the management of water resources, and how this can be done to ensure that cultural, economic and environmental imperatives are respected in Aotearoa New Zealand.

You will hear about the Māori world view from Dr Maria Bargh (Te Arawa and Ngāti Awa), who teaches Māori culture and politics at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington. Professor Lydia Wevers will introduce you to Pākehā, or European, New Zealand culture. Featuring guest appearances from other experts, this course will encourage you to think about landscape as an expression of culture, and allow you to transfer these ideas to the landscape you live in.

Taught by

Lydia Wevers and Maria Bargh

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