Carving our Future in a World of Possibility: Exploring Contemporary Implications of the Māori-Pākehā Relationship in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Ralph Bathurst


This paper explores the aesthetics of ethics through an examination of Aotearoa/New Zealand’s Treaty of Waitangi. Through the metaphor of the carver, we demonstrate that instrumentality, ethics and aesthetics work together in a fluid state of play that provides the means to achieve the partnership relationships inherent in the Treaty. We claim that the theory of tensegrity allows for contestations surrounding meanings of the Treaty’s intent and opens a space for growth and development. This is illustrated by the March 2010 signing of a memorandum of understanding between Bay of Plenty iwi and Tasman Pulp and Paper which affords both parties with a means to work productively together for their mutual benefit. This contemporary illustration is compared with the construction and carvings of the Te Tiriti O Waitangi Whare Rūnanga which demonstrate in a tangible way how aesthetics and ethics work together to build community solidarity among people of diverse backgrounds.


Aesthetics; Aotearoa/New Zealand; Emancipation; Environment; Ethics; Sustainability; Social development; Tensegrity

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