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Nga paremata Maori: The architecture of Maori nationalism.

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Fabrications, 12(2), 1-17

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Brown explores the intricate relationship between architecture and Māori nationalism in New Zealand.

Brown argues that the physical structures and spaces created and used by Māori people are not only a reflection of their cultural identity but also a powerful tool in the expression and maintenance of their nationalism. As she notes, Māori nationalism, and nationalistic architecture, comes in many different guises. Brown explores the profound impact of Pākehā arrival on Māori cultural identity, particularly focusing on how this encounter necessitated a reevaluation of tribal distinctions and spurred the development of a distinct Māori national consciousness. The author highlights the role of parliamentary organisations as a response to the evolving socio-political landscape, where tribal allegiances, rather than class distinctions, influenced Māori perspectives on monarchy and nationhood. Brown critically examines how Māori architecture, during this period of cultural introspection, struggled to balance tribal (iwi) and national politics, along with traditional forms and adopted Western aesthetics. The article discusses specific instances where architecture failed or succeeded in embodying this complex identity. Successes are noted in structures that fused elements of Māori and Western design, including marae and pa contexts, cultural functional divisions, and even the incorporation of upper and lower chambers and throne rooms in some designs. The author also contemplates the reluctance of Paremata Māori builders to include traditional carvings and kowhaiwhai in their designs, suggesting that these were tribal-based arts not aligning with the emerging pan-tribal ideals. Brown argues that Māori nationalism is most vividly expressed in the narratives surrounding the construction, use, and abandonment of these parliamentary buildings, rather than in their aesthetic or functional design.

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