The representation of Maori women in early 20th century advertising.
Figure 1: “The Canoe Poi Dance’ 1957
The representation of New Zealand culture/society that is created in this first advertisement- “The Canoe Poi Dance” published by New Zealand Tourist and Publicity Department, (see Fig. 1). There is a beautiful Maori woman, partly silhouetted, sitting down wearing the traditional Maori women costume, which consists of a traditional Maori patterned top and a flax skirt called ‘piupiu.’ Here the woman is swinging around a poi which is used in a traditional Maori dance that woman perform and is very unique to New Zealand. The woman is also wearing a greenstone necklace, with a ‘Tiki’ which is very symbolic to the Maori. This image of the woman alone shows us the Maori culture, which was a very different culture and only existed in New Zealand.
This advertisment appeals to people from all around the world. The culture that is created by this advertisment is used to attract people to come and visit New Zealand to experience the Maoriland and what is has to offer, as it cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. The poi that the woman is holding, illustrates the importance of kapa haka which is a traditional Maori performance. Kapa haka includes the haka, which men perform, and poi which is a ‘dance accompanied by song and rhythmic movements of the poi.’ [Ft.1].
The advertisment also is to attract men, which is part of the reason a woman has been used. The creators of this advertisment have used sex appeal to attract male attention. The woman in this advertisment is sitting down and her skirt has fallen away and the very top of her thigh is exposed to the viewers. Also a lot of the woman’s chest is exposed as there are only two thin straps (but only one is seen in the picture) holding the top in place and you can see a tiny bit of cleavage. The woman is striking a seductive pose, with her head tilted, eyes closed and mouth open. It also looks like she...
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