The vernacular is alive and kicking!
As this recent article from the New Zealand Herald illustrates…”I think we should take it as an acknowledgement that we have our own New Zealand way of talking and what we are saying is seen (as) important enough they want to give it subtitles” -Dr Helen Charters
In fact the vernacular is a hot topic weaving it’s way through many recent articles including these examples from the Sunday Star Times (Sunday, September 29, A5).
The first article is about two sisters – Tatyanna Meharry and Natasha English from Christchurch who won this years World of Wearable Art competition (an annual international competition) with their work The Exchange. From the article ‘The Exchange represents the idea of give and take,said Meharry, evident in the relationship between Maori and Pakeha and in the Treaty of Waitangi…The sisters, both in their 40’s, are fourth generation New Zealanders descended from Scottish migrants who spoke te reo Maori, and wanted to create something which celebrated their heritage without being confrontational. The emotional reaction people have have to their costume has humbled them, said Meharry. “It has moved them because of the way it was presented, it was not about reconciliation, but acceptance that we were shaped by this event and we accept each other”.The second article documents several cases of cultural colonisation through commodifying traditional art forms and the steps taken by those for whom these art forms are vernacular to protect them. The article finished with the tired but obvious argument that commercial use of artforms presents ‘opportunity’ for their makers.