Associate Professor Roger Blackley shortlisted for 2019 Ernest Scott Prize

Associate Professor of Art History Roger Blackley’s book Galleries of Maoriland: Artists, Collectors and the Māori World, 1880–1910 has been shortlisted for the prestigious 2019 Ernest Scott Prize for History.

Roger Blackley

Established in 1943, the Ernest Scott Prize is awarded annually to a book that is judged the 'most distinguished contribution' to the history of New Zealand or Australia or the history of colonisation in the previous year. Administered by the History Department of the University of Melbourne, previous New Zealand winners include Angela Wanhalla (2014) and Michael Belgrave (2018).

Galleries of Maoriland introduces us to the many ways in which Pākehā discovered, created, propagated, and romanticised the Māori world at the turn of the century—in the paintings of Lindauer and Goldie; among artists, patrons, collectors, and audiences; inside the Polynesian Society and the Dominion Museum; among stolen artefacts and fantastical accounts of the Māori past.

Māori objects and images of Māori were closely connected in New Zealand's collecting and exhibiting culture of the period, says Associate Professor Blackley. “Over time these have been segregated by disciplinary and institutional frameworks. While the received art history of the period positions Māori as passive victims of colonialism, memorialised in galleries of the dying race, my research identifies the activities and motives of Māori participants within this culture. By exploring the intersections of art and ethnological collecting, and especially by including Māori as participants and agents, Galleries of Maoriland enables an enhanced view of the transactions of the colonial art world.”

Victoria University of Wellington Emeritus Professor Lydia Wevers says being shortlisted for the Ernest Scott Prize is a mark of considerable distinction as only four books are chosen each year from a large number of entries. “Associate Professor Blackley's book, Galleries of Maoriland, is the only New Zealand entry this year and its shortlisting reflects the critical acclaim that has greeted this work.”