Televisual memory and the New Zealand Wars: Bicultural identities, masculinity and landscape
The 1998 documentary series The New Zealand Wars, based on James Belich’s revisionist monograph on New Zealand’s colonial wars, recalled these conflicts to Pākehā as well as Māori collective memory, and thereby confronted contemporary Pākehā identities. Alon Confino asks: ‘Why is it that some pasts triumph while others fail?’ This article seeks to explain the unexpected success of the past which the series set forth by analysing its televisual strategies of engagement with Pākehā viewers. It discusses three elements of the series’ mode of address: Belich’s persona as historian-presenter; the series’ appellation of Pākehā viewers in relation to their historical ‘Others’; and its imaging of landscape. The New Zealand Wars was a televisual commemoration deeply enmeshed in contemporary cultural change, and in its claims on the emotions and affiliations of viewers it helped to resituate the New Zealand Wars in the domain of New Zealand nationhood.
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Rights Statement: © The Author(s) 2011
Keywords: New Zealand; televsion history; New Zealand wars; place; landscape; masculinity; media; identity; Pākehā
Research Type: Journal Article
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