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Self Imposed Cultural Isolation Of New Zealand

886 words - 4 pages

Due to geographical isolation and sparsely populated factors, New Zealand had been symbolized as the trope of “man alone”. In addition, the harsh life and cruelty of the colony was one factor that created a stubborn culture of self-reliance and individuality. In spite of the rapid development of economy and diplomacy brought a fresh outlook to this country, the fundamental problem of NZ culture still exists. This paper argues that New Zealand has been mired in the self-imposed cultural isolation because of its over-dependence on other foreign cultures and inflexible persistence on traditional cultures, especially expresses in New Zealand films.

Firstly, I argue that New Zealand has over-dependence on foreign, specifically UK culture. As the history of New Zealand’s relationship with the UK mirrors closely the history of the growth of New Zealand as a modern nation, today’s New Zealand has a distinctive identity, forged from the twin strands of indigenous Maori culture and British heritage, but also incorporating many influences from the wider region. Furthermore, as a nation of immigrants, New Zealand has been heading to the diversity of cultures. Besides foreign languages spoken/ written/ published on New Zealand television, radio and other print media. More and more foreign (especially Asian) factors appear in New Zealand films, some even use Asian as the main character like My Wedding and Other Secrets.
However, the foreign and local cultures are like oil and water that do not mix essentially. For instance, Maoris eat fast food, watch movies, and wear fashion clothes as other people do nowadays, which seems like they accept foreign cultures quite naturally. But conversely, a lot of people who spend most of their life in New Zealand, do not speak any Maori language, or wear Maori traditional clothes. It shows that while Maori people accepting modern culture and dependent its convenience, the Maori culture hasn’t been treated as important as other cultures in New Zealand. Of course Maori culture takes its special position in the country culture, and Maori performance like Kapa haka have been an unique way to introduce New Zealand’s traditions to visitors from all over the world. Nevertheless, Kapa haka is not graceful as Kabuki, the primitive and mysterious Maori culture is not so acceptable and adorable like other cultures. Furthermore, the sacred traditions are not approachable as well; whilst Maori people are just showing what does the culture looks like, not what exactly the significance is.
In the film Whale Rider (2002), Paikea’s father and uncle are quite typical characters as young Maori people. They are familiar with the traditional cultures,...

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