Abstract from “Ngati, and alternatives to the dominant model of communication in a Western society” essay by Toby Woollaston – 2009

Before I go into detailing any alternatives to the dominant model of communication attached to the Western society I feel it is important to analyse a case study of an “under-developed” culture attempting to communicate in a Western society. In doing so I will be referring to Barry Barclay’s attempt in the film Ngati, seeing it as an example of the “art of resistance”. By doing this I am trying to look at the area of art as a major means of communication held by cultures such as Maori but long since lost by the Western society. Also this will bring to light the difficulties involved with communicating a non-western message using western tool and emphasise a need for an alternative model of communication to fill the “spiritual gap” lost by the Western society.

Having established such differences in communication between Maori and Western colonial society I will hopefully have emphasised the Western model of communication as lacking in such dimensions as art as a method of communication, and needing to learn from the cultures such as Maori. In offering an alternative I will be referring to a model put forward by a German philosopher called Martin Heidegger who sees the avenue of art as a saving power from clutches of modernity and nihilism that ensues. It is important here to note the similarities between Heidegger’s view of art and the Maori view of art. Heidegger used examples from ancient Greece, however, I feel that examples of Maori art are just as relevant for his examples.

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