Countercartographies: New (Zealand) cultural studies/geographies and the city

Julie Cupples*, Kevin Glynn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Heavenly Creatures, Peter Jackson's internationally renowned 1994 film about a horrific 1954 matricide committed by two New Zealand schoolgirls, exquisitely contrasts the official face of respectable Christchurch, site of the murder, with many of the city's darker undercurrents, its overt and covert class, sexual and racial hierarchies and oppressions, and its postcolonial psychodynamics of Anglophilia and repression.1 In the film's representational logic, Englishness signifies both class aspiration and ineffectual, effete decadence. When Pauline and her intimate English expat confidante, Juliet, brutally murder Pauline's mother, Pauline might be seen as at once exterminating her own (somewhat self-loathing) working class identity and intervening disruptively against the rigidly punishing moral geographies of the Anglophilic postcolonial city. Jackson draws upon the schoolgirls’ actual diary entries to develop an elaborate phantasmatic visual countermapping (‘the Fourth World’) of the psychosocial contours of postcolonial space – a kind of countercartography of desire based upon the visual imaginaries recorded in the girls’ diaries. One of the remarkable features of Heavenly Creatures is then its complex exploration of interplays between urban spaces, visual imaginaries, excluded identities, repressed cultural countercurrents and postcolonial social dynamics, a set of interplays that also animates the various contributions to the present issue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalNew Zealand Geographer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Countercartographies: New (Zealand) cultural studies/geographies and the city'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this