Unearthly landscapes : the development of the cemetery in nineteenth century New Zealand
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AbstractWritten, visual and material evidence demonstrates that the indigenous and immigrant peoples of nineteenth century New Zealand both retained aspects of their traditional burial practices and forms of memorialisation while modifying others in response to their new environmental and social contexts.
Maori had developed a complex set of burial rituals by the beginning of the nineteenth century, practised within the framework of tangihanga. These included primary and secondary burial and limited memorialisation, with practices varying between iwi. Change and continuity characterised the development of Maori burial practice and places during the nineteenth century. Maori appropriated European practices and materials, translated traditional practices into new materials, and new practices into traditional materials. Although urupa came to appear more European, they were still firmly embedded in the framework of tangihanga and notions of tapu.
The nineteenth century settlement of New Zealand occurred at a time of transition in British burial practices, with the traditional churchyard burial ground giving way to the modern cemetery. The predominantly British settlers transplanted both institutions to the colonial context. The cemeteries, churchyards and burial grounds created in nineteenth century New Zealand were influenced by a great number of factors. These included the materials available, the religious and ethnic make up of settler society, regionalism, economic ties, major events, political and social conditions, means of establishment and function.
These processes, events, and influences resulted m a rich yet neglected material culture of urupa, cemeteries, churchyards, burial grounds and lone graves which are today valuable components of our historic and cultural landscapes. Portions of this heritage have already been lost through decay and destruction. Neglect is now the major threat. Part of this neglect is due to the fact that we do not understand our cemeteries, what they show, how and why they have developed over time. Neglect is also engendered by cultural perceptions of what is valuable. While Maori regard urupa and burial places as toanga and sacred sites, Pakeha have tended to ignore their historic cemeteries. Such attitudes have been reflected and enforced by the policy of external agencies such as the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. New Zealand's nineteenth century cemeteries have a great but under-utilised research potential, which it is important to recognise if we wish to preserve them.
TypeThesis or Dissertation
Deed, S. (2005, May 15). Unearthly landscapes : the development of the cemetery in nineteenth century New Zealand (Thesis, Master of Arts). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10523/8306