'New Zealand's Rivers' is impressive for its scope, clarity, poignancy and power
December 23, 2018
Is New Zealand on the verge of a tipping point?
August 2, 2018
Launch of "Song of the River"
June 26, 2019
Geomentality: seeing the world in different ways
February 11, 2017
Recently I attended a hui to discuss landscape assessment in New Zealand. The discussion turned to the view of "landscape" from a te ao Maori perspective (Maori world view). I got the sense that from the Maori practitioners that they were accustomed to having to justify the idea that Maori have a different way of viewing the world, perhaps in the face of cynicism from other New Zealanders that other ways of viewing the world have any validity in the 'modern world'.
But for me, this is an absolute given - it is as self-evident as the fact that people speak different languages (and none is more "valid" than any other). In great part, this consciousness came from living in Japan for six years - a very different culture from the one I grew up in (entirely oblivious to the fact that I was being moulded by any "culture"). As a young adult, I was like a sponge, and soaked up all the "culture" I experienced in my life there - both in its tangible and intangible forms.
This understanding was further enriched by my academic studies. While doing my Masters research (on the Japanese attitude to nature), I encountered the concept of "geomentality" - defined as "an established and lasting frame (state) of mind regarding the environment". The concept has been explored in depth in the work and writings of New Zealand-based cultural geographer Professor Hong-Key Yoon.
It is a bit of a mystery to me why it has not become more widely known; it is nicely intuitive term, and strikes me as being very "real" and relevant - as evidenced by this recent hui.