Mountain places, cultural spaces: the interpretation of culturally significant landscapes
Carr, Anna M
This paper presents an overview of how national park interpretation in New Zealand is incorporating Māori perspectives of cultural landscapes. Since the formation of the Department of Conservation in 1987, interpretive material containing information about the relationship between local iwi (Māori tribal groups) and natural areas has increased. Co-operative management strategies have been instigated by the Department to ensure that interpretation conveying Māori perspectives and cultural values for the landscape is accurate and authorised by iwi members. The paper analyses the findings from a survey that asked visitors about their experiences of the cultural interpretation at Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. At this site, Department of Conservation staff aim to (1) increase visitors’ understanding of the Māori relationship to the land and (2) direct appropriate visitor behaviour whilst in the area. Many survey respondents were unaware of the relationship between Māori and the area prior to their visit, despite reporting cultural activities and experiences with indigenous peoples as travel motivators. On-site interpretation contributed to raising visitors’ awareness that the landscape has special significance to local iwi, thus providing a cultural dimension to the visitors’ experiences at this internationally renowned natural area.
Keywords: New Zealand; heritage interpretation; landscape; Māori
Research Type: Journal Article
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