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Chanel Clarke

Position title:
Curator, Māori
Human History
Contact Chanel

About Chanel

As Curator Māori at Auckland Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira, I have the privilege of caring for one of the finest Māori collections in the world. A typical day sees me answering phone calls about precious family heirlooms, conducting tours, working on exhibits, or my favourite, taking treasured taonga back to local communities.

Research interests and projects

My specific collection interests are the social and cultural aspects of clothing and textiles in both traditional and contemporary contexts.  I'm particularly fascinated with the way we choose to express our identities through our dress. In this regard my current research is focused on the self-fashioning practices of a cohort of 19th century Māori leaders while on foreign shores and in particular how this related to the political motivations of their journeys. 

In addition to this I have a similar research project that investigates contemporary expressions of identity through the vehicle of the t-shirt. This research stems from the highly successful Identi-Tee exhibition at Auckland Museum.

Selected research publications

  • Clarke, C. (in press). Maori encounters with 'Wikitoria' in 1863 and Albert Victor Pomare, her Maori godchild. In M. Nugent & S. Carter (Eds.) Mistress of everything: Queen Victoria in indigenous and settler colonial history, politics and imagination. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

  • Clarke, C. and Smith, C. (2015). A Gentleman's Slippers. In A. Cooper, L. Paterson & A. Wanhalla (Eds.) >The Lives of Colonial Objects. Dunedin: Otago University Press.

  • Clarke, C., Pereira, F., Prickett, N. (2013). Tradition and Change in Māori and Pacific Art: Essays by Roger Neich, Auckland: Auckland War Memorial Museum with Bridget Williams Books.

  • Clarke, C. (2012). A Māori perspective on the wearing of black. In D. de Pont (Ed) Black: History of Black in Fashion, Society and Culture in New Zealand. Auckland: Penguin Books.

  • Clarke, C. (2007). Nga taonga tuitui tangata: Treasures weaving together the generations. In D. Brown & N. Ellis (Eds) Te Puna. Maori Art from Tai Tokerau, Northland. Auckland: Reed Publishing.

See Chanel's full list of published research