Zealandia, daughter of Britannia, is an old symbol of colonial New Zealand. A representation of Pakeha/European settlers, she appears on our national coat of arms, standing to the left of the shield, staring lovingly across at a Maori warrior on the right who returns her gaze with equal affection.
In this statue there are no such niceties though. Zealandia is depicted alone as part of a memorial to the New Zealand Wars, a conflict that took place due to the British colonial government compulsorily requisitioning land after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi – a pact between the crown and Maori that guaranteed sub-tribes, amongst other things, governance over their property.
The words on the memorial read “In memory of the brave men belonging to the imperial and colonial forces and the friendly Maoris (sic) who gave their lives for the country during the New Zealand Wars 1845-1872. Through war they won the peace we now know.”
Zealandia stands, bare breasted, staring up at those words. She used to hold a fern in one hand and a New Zealand flag in the other. Both have been lost or stolen…
I’ll leave you to ponder all that symbolism on your own. I have much more frivolous symbolism to create. Zealandia’s mother country is playing football against my fatherland in the quarter finals of Euro 2012. There’s no question who I’m supporting. Zealandia looks less convinced.
[Previous instalments in the ‘Scarves on Statues’ series can be found here]
Categories: Scarves on Statues
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.