Spatialisation of Time

Donna Awatere

In this concept the present is all important. The dimensions of time have been collapsed into space. This occurred when time began to be measured and quantified. It was no longer tied to the cyclic rhythm of nature and to the ancestors' rhythm of life and death. Precise, mechanical time replaced cyclic and whakapapa time. Thus the present was put into a mechanical relationship with the past and future. Nature and geneaology were put aside.

A Walt Disney notion of reality replaced them. Basically, the past and future exist only if they can be physically represented in the present. So there at Disneyland, where the 'Mayflower', the Prairie Family, and Futureworld are present side by side, the past and the future have been collapsed into the present. What is experienced as 'real' is now. The past and the future are therefore now.

Mechanical, spatial time in white culture really got off the ground with print. The written word allowed communication and information carrying that did not depend on oral tradition. However the tasks and skills of writing remained in the hands of the rulers. [From Maori Sovereignty, 60-61.]

Postcolonial Overview New Zealand Australia

Last Modified: 15 March, 2002