Pākehā Landhome-Making: Composting Arcadia with(in) Wairarapa
This article offers the notion of landhome-making as a way to compost arcadia. For my doctoral research, I interviewed Pākehā women from rural Wairarapa. Here I draw on fragments from three participants’ stories to demonstrate how landhome-making can be a fertile way to trouble dominant understandings of arcadia by drawing on Donna Haraway’s composting. Arcadia, which can be understood as a rural paradise, was a key way Europeans settled New Zealand, and is still a formative way in which Pākehā relate to land. Although immersed in colonial mythologizing, in which the arcadian ideal is an intimate part, I suggest participants’ narratives also have the capacity to disrupt this problematic colonial ideal. I found this out by using feminist more-than-human ethnographic methodologies that helped me conclude that landhome-making possesses possibilities for composting dominant understandings of arcadia with(in) Wairarapa.
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