Wilson, J. M. (2009) Reimagining indigeneity: origins and belonging in recent New Zealand/Australian films. Paper presented to: Nomadic Communities in the Postcolonial World: Culture, Expression, Rights, Baroda, Gujerat, India, 03-07 January 2009.
The recent revival of Maori and Aborigine cultures through the medium of cinema includes representations of indigenous myths of origin, a privileging of native authenticity and the displacement of colonial discourses of racism as new constructions of familial, communal and national belonging create a postcolonial identity for such cultures. In feature films such as Rabbit Proof Fence (2002) and Whale Rider (2003) such ‘relocation’ of the indigene has been responsive to and shaped by the global circulation of visual media. This paper examines how authenticity in representing indigenous identity in New Zealand and Australia is both constructed and contested, and it seeks to identify plural hybridized discourses which counteract essentialising images of the native. It argues that some films challenge the stereotypes of race and gender in order to repossess indigeneity and claim a more ethnically nuanced heritage