Maori Monument or Pakeha Propaganda?

Ministry for Culture and Heritage Seminar:

We're delighted to invite you to hear Ewan Morris at our first public history seminar in 2013 at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, L4 ASB House, 101 The Terrace, Wellington at 12.15pm on Wednesday 6 March.

Māori Monument or Pākehā Propaganda?
The Memorial to Te Keepa Te Rangihiwinui, Whanganui
Statue in memory of Te Keepa Te Rangihiwinui, also known as Major Kemp, at Wanganui, 1912. Image courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Reference Number: 1/1-021036-G

In 1912 a memorial to the rangatira and soldier Te Keepa Te Rangihiwinui (Major Kemp) was erected in Pākaitore/Moutoa Gardens, Whanganui. It consists of a statue, four bronze panels depicting battles in which Te Keepa was involved, and eight separate panels of text.
The memorial was the subject of a series of court cases in 1913-14, resulting from the unwillingness of Te Keepa’s sister to pay for a statue that she felt did not properly represent her brother. It survived the 1995 occupation of Pākaitore unscathed (unlike the statue of John Ballance), despite the fact that it appears to commemorate Te Keepa as a loyal servant of the Crown. Unusually text-heavy, the memorial seems to invite reading in a quite literal sense. But how should we read and understand this memorial? Is it a Pākehā memorial, a Māori memorial, or a mixture of both?

Ewan Morris has worked on Australian, Irish and New Zealand history. He is the author of Our Own Devices: National Symbols and Political Conflict in Twentieth-Century Ireland (2005), and a co-author of The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History (2nd edition, 2008). He is researching debates about memorials and other symbols in Aotearoa New Zealand and what they can tell us about relations between Māori and non-Māori since 1970. The memorials at Pākaitore/Moutoa Gardens are among the case studies he is examining in this research.
Everyone is welcome - talks are for approximately one hour.


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