Migrating meanings: New Zealand kiwiana collectors and national identity

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Material objects are imbued with accumulated meanings. This article explores the migrating meanings of vintage popular cultural artefacts in New Zealand. These once mundane household items are now treasured collectibles known as 'kiwiana'. In the face of the risk of annihilation of difference through the impacts of globalization, these collectibles are valued for their idiosyncratic localness. With the inundation of cheap generic imported merchandise onto the market, there is a revival of enthusiasm for insistently local materiality. As souvenirs of everyday life of the past, they enable collectors to perform a version of the self while reiterating populist cultural mythologies of nation.

Keywords: Maoriana; collectibles; kiwiana; mythologies; nostalgia; souvenirs

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ajpc.1.3.349_1

Affiliations: University of Auckland

Publication date: November 11, 2011

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  • The Australasian Journal of Popular Culture is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the scholarly understanding of everyday cultures. It is concerned with the study of the social practices and the cultural meanings that are produced and are circulated through the processes and practices of everyday life. As a product of consumption, an intellectual object of inquiry, and as an integral component of the dynamic forces that shape societies. The journal will be receptive to articles which focus on Australasian examples, or broader comparative and theoretical questions viewed through an Australasian lens.
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