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Amanda Lee Temasek Polytechnic School of Business Leisure and Resort Management track, dance

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Disneyization of New Zealand?
Friday, December 10, 2010 6:59 AM
Disneyization of a society is becoming popular in several countries and New Zealand is no exception. There are four characteristics that define disneyfication of a society: theming, hybrid consumption, merchandising and performative labour.

When you think about golf, sometimes it can feel rather mundane. However, in New Zealand a company called The Original Adventure Golf Company came up with pirate themed adventure golf. In, 1997, it was first developed in Christchurch, called Pirate Islands. Then in 2001, Treasure Islands was introduced in Auckland. Finally, in the late 2004, Pirate Cove was introduced to Wellington. The Disney element is obvious in this case, instead of just playing golf; a pirate theme is incorporated to cater more to families. Not only is this sustainable, it is changing the concept of professional golf as it is more casual in a way.




Hybrid Consumption is becoming a trend as people have more demands. I happen to come across a historic venue, The Blue Bathe. It is being restored and now several functions are held there, I found out that they actually hold dinner shows at the venue. The show is called ‘Stars at the Bathe’, this clearly exemplify the characteristic of hybrid consumption as this show is not only theatrical but since it is a dinner show, fine food is also being served. Food and entertainment being combined together into a single entity for consumption, therefore it is difficult to separate the two due to the demand for both at the same time.

Merchandising is probably the most obvious characteristics of Disneyization to spot in New Zealand due to the All Blacks; they have a large range of merchandise ranging from clothes to bags. Their merchandises are sold all over New Zealand, even Singapore have some of their merchandises. All the merchandises have the same silver fern logo that are made under license Last but not least, the Tamaki Maori Village in Rotorua. I visited the place once and I viewed the Maori traditional performances and villages. The Maori people there have to perform a minimum of three shows each day for visitors. The important Haka dance and poi dance that are frequently performed seem to have lost their meanings during these performances. The Haka dance which is meant to be a war dance is merely a performance when it is brought to the frontline. Though, they maintained their facial expressions and body language during the performance, but one can easily tell that they are not really feeling the essence of their dance; unlike when the dance is use at an appropriate moment, like the All Blacks rugby match where they challenge their opponents. This illustrates performative labour as the Maori people culture is actually part of service work and their culture is seen as a performance rather than a lifestyle now.