resistance maps

Maps have a subversive potential that is often ignored and overlooked. They have been used by rulers, whether kings or ‘elected’ governments to name and signify, telling us what places are called and why they are significant. There is a power in naming places, as those who fought for Bangalore to be called Bengaluru and those who call New Zealand by its Maori name- Aotearoa, can attest. It is never 'just' a name as the resistance to both changes shows!

While singularly unimpressed by Google Corporation’s dream of taking over the internet world, the potential of the maps application amazes me. Here is a chance to take back our world, so to speak, to name and signify in resistance to dominant forces, whether governmental, colonist, corporate or any other interests one would like to resist. The effectiveness of this resistance, however, is not so much in launching attack on the ‘enemy’, but in defending one’s position, maybe in helping one understand where one stands.

Much like the Maori Pa.

Maori Pa are earthenwork fortifications, sometimes with a wooden stockade on top. They were typically built in locations that overlooked possible attack points, and were known to be effective against the English settlers. The Pa was also used to store food and was a centre of learning and crafts. With the over running of Aotearoa New Zealand by the English, these Pa structures have mostly been lost, though the memory of their location remains.

While I knew two locations of Paa in Hamilton, it is thanks to an exhibition at the Waikato Museum that I can now see all the locations in the area. With thanks to Te Winika Gallery of the Waikato Museum and in response to this supressed history, here is another map.

View Hamilton Pa in a larger map

Update: Here is another intersting read on maps!


Blind Dayze said...

Sad to hear that most of the structures are lost..the Pa at One Tree Hill looks pretty cool...

Larry Page n Sergey Brin.. they just might be a part of the NewWorldOrder gang ..Illuminati :-).. online world is much under their control..all the info they store..

feddabonn said...

@blind: not too sad in a way, these were eminently recyclable fortifications, and i rather applaud the conversion of swords into ploughshares, lol. good to know history, though, and not always the ones the 'authorities' teach you!

am hoping to move my blog to WP, unable to get a theme with all the features i want yet!

Blind Dayze said...

I'd come across a statement somewhere.. like there's "Sanctioned History" ... and "Real History" :-)

Moving to WP?... well unless you get a pro account or something with your own domain name etc i dont think theres much scope for tweaking it exactly like you want to.... but i guess it depends.. Search Google for more info on this :-)...

maps said...

Hi Feddabonn,

my partner Skyler and I saw the 'Never A Dull Moment' exhibition on the history of Hamilton last Sunday: perhaps we were there at the same time as you? I also found the map of Hamilton pa very interesting.

You can visit the old pa Miropiko on River Road, which runs on the opposte side of the Waikato from the museum. It's only a small site, but there are fragments of old earthworks there. In the part of the museum dedicated to Tainui artefacts, there is a beautifully carved boundary pou - it must be eight or ten foot tall - which once stood close to the Miropiko site.

There are some spectacular pa on Auckland's hills - I think they have survived because they were not constructed on flat land.

feddabonn said...

@blind: it increasingly seems to me that there is little that is 'real' in some ultimate or perfect sense, all we have are various perspectives. so the sanctioned histories are one perspective (or one complex perspective) and another history that looks at things from a tribal/labour perspective are different. while the facts of the event can (mostly) be checked out, who's to say which perspective is 'real'?

little tired of being so dependant on google. and just a tad bit paranoid.

thanks for these back-and-forths, by the way. really helps me think!

feddabonn said...

@maps: interesting you should bring the never a dull moment up. my wife and i thought it strange that while the pakeha bits were more interactive/fun/funny, the maori bits were more sombre and solemn. is that 1) in character with the maori story telling/presentation or 2) another attempt to leave maori historical perspectives in the past?

will definitely check out the miropiko site, and auckland when we finally get there, thanks! i was in the museum late-ish on sunday, copying off the wall.

Marty Mars said...

Awesome... resistance maps - i love it. This whole mapping idea is very deep. layer and layer of meaning which can be accessed. Keep mapping feddabonn

samda said...

Ahom kings of Assam, India had used the same kind of 'structures'called 'garh, for defence purposes. Parts of it is still there even in Guwahati, the capital of Assam state. Ahoms came from present Thailand and occupied Assam and became the rulers. But in the process they got totally assimilated to the local culture and lost even their language.

feddabonn said...

@marty: fascinating eh, these maps? i owe thanks to kerry!

@samda: these are probably very much like the garhs. do you remember ever seeing any maps of the garhs in assam? would be fun to map those too! :)

John Doe said...

"Maps have a subversive potential."

So true.

Generally it is the writers of history who make the maps.

They say Thomas Cook discovered Australia.

Well all that he did was named some points in the map.

Another issue which is quite contentious (I hope this is the way they spell it) is the map of kashmir. Depending on whether you are an Indian or a Pakistani, the colour of Kasmir changes.

feddabonn said...

welcome back, JD. been a while.

ROFL @ "all that he did was named some points in the map." absolutely! interesting point about kashmir. i guess in a way the whole issue can be seen as a struggle towards how the area is represented on a map!

John Doe said...

@feddabonn - ty. i usually surf the net as an escape from work. so no work, no Internet.

now i hate using these words but yes, maps have always been used as a way of propogating an imperialism of thoughts and ideas.

thomas cook discovered australia. what about the people living there before.

what did dr. livingstone do? go somewhere where people had been staying for centuries.

i would like to see what they would say if i land in london and start naming places.

to digress - i much preferred it when large parts of the map was marked as - here be dragons.

Anonymous said...

What necessary phrase... super, magnificent idea

feddabonn said...

thanks anon!