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Once Were Pacific

Once Were Pacific: M ori Connections to Oceania

Alice Te Punga Somerville
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    Once Were Pacific
    Book Description:

    Once Were Pacific considers how M ori and other Pacific peoples frame their connection to the ocean, to New Zealand, and to each other through various creative works. In this sustained treatment of the M ori diaspora, M ori scholar Alice Te Punga Somerville provides the first critical analysis of relationships between Indigenous and migrant communities in New Zealand.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8150-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Ngā Mihi: Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. INTRODUCTION: Māori and the Pacific
    (pp. xv-xxx)

    For māori at uawa in 1769, the usual European trade goods and trinkets that had been prepared for exchange by the Europeans on board theEndeavourwere trumped by large sheets of tapa recently acquired in Tahiti. Although we might be tempted to delve into this moment of “first-encounter” for so-called precolonial, first-contact descriptions of Polynesianness and whiteness, the Māori preference for tapa over European cloth signals an alternative simultaneous series of connections. As they interacted with navigator–explorers Tupaia and Cook, Māori communities drew on existing narratives of connection and exchange with the broader Pacific. So, indeed, did the...

  5. PART I. Tapa:: Aotearoa in the Pacific Region

      (pp. 3-10)

      In tupaia’s painting of exchange between Māori and European men, the European extends a piece of tapa recently acquired in Tahiti. The plant from which tapa is made, the paper mulberry tree(Broussonetia papyrifera), which Māori know as aute,¹ could not thrive in Aotearoa’s colder climate, and so the production of the cloth had all but diminished there. However, the moment Māori reconnected with the tapa, and indeed, the moment Tupaia chose to represent that scene with the new technology of European paint, Māori were reglued into the Pacific region. Although moving south of tropical Polynesia did not mean that...

    • CHAPTER 1 Māori People in Pacific Spaces
      (pp. 11-36)

      Aotearoa is clearly a part of the geographical region of the Pacific, and Māori are Polynesian and therefore culturally connected with other Polynesians and, beyond that, the whole Pacific. But where does connection take place? What does it look like? How is it articulated? What is the relationship between individual and collective connections? On what basis are Māori present in a Pacific space? Taking three specific but disparate instances of Māori people in Pacific spaces provides an opportunity to consider the range of ways in which Māori connect with the Pacific. First, this chapter considers the singular figure of Te...

    • CHAPTER 2 Pacific-Based Māori Writers
      (pp. 37-60)

      A great deal of energy, both contemporary and historical, has been expended on exploring the historical migration of Māori people through the Pacific to Aotearoa. The Māori poets Vernice Wineera, Evelyn Patuawa-Nathan, and Robert Sullivan all write about and demonstrate journeys in which Māori start at Aotearoa and venture out into the region. Vernice Wineera and Robert Sullivan are two very different poets: one older, one younger; one woman, one man; one from lower North Island iwi, one from iwi based at the northern and southern ends of Aotearoa; one with long-standing residence in Hawai‘i, whose link to Aotearoa derives...

    • CHAPTER 3 Aotearoa-Based Māori Writers
      (pp. 61-80)

      If, to paraphrase vernice wineera, one does not stop being Māori when one is living in the Pacific, does one stop being Pacific when one is living in Aotearoa? Although Aotearoa-based Māori writers tend to focus either on Māori connections with Europe or Pākehā, or on Māori-centric configurations, a small group of Aotearoa-based Māori writers have produced texts about Māori as a part of the Pacific region. Interestingly, this Aotearoa-based articulation of an Aotearoa-inclusive Pacific is fragmentary: less like the large tapa sheets writers based outside New Zealand are able to produce and more like the carefully constructed shreds of...

    • The Realm of Tapa
      (pp. 81-88)

      Chantal spitz’sL’Ile Des Reves Ecraseswas the first novel published by an Indigenous writer from Polynesie Francais (French Polynesia), and sixteen years later, in 2007, the Māori publishing company Huia launched Jean Anderson’s translation of the novel asIsland of Shattered Dreams.¹ Of the several characters in the novel, Tetiare is the most creative and least easily shaped by the colonial institutions of schooling, militarism, and patriotism. She drifts for some time before going overseas, and the narrative of her return to Tahiti is worth quoting at length:

      Tetiare has finally come home, after years of wandering round the...

  6. PART II. Koura:: The Pacific in Aotearoa

      (pp. 91-100)

      Te papa, New Zealand’s national museum, opened its new exhibition Tangata o le Moana: The Story of the Pacific People in New Zealand in October 2007. Such a major permanent exhibition requires compelling, clear, and “Pacific” branding, and a photograph titled “Double Afro” taken by Glenn Jowitt outside Hillary College in Ōtara during the Māori and Pacific secondary schools dance festival in 1981 seemed to lend itself to the task. A young Polynesian man, with an afro and early-eighties-era clothes, looks straight at the camera with a shy smile and wears a sweatshirt that reads “London Paris New York Rome...

    • CHAPTER 4 Māori–Pasifika Collaborations
      (pp. 101-122)

      This chapter focuses on three specific collaborations in which a single text has been produced by a group made up of Māori and Pasifika people. Before focusing on more recent texts, it is worth considering a slightly earlier creative alliance. A single archived program for the Takapuna Free Kindergarten’s 1943 fund-raiser provides a quite different view of Auckland-based Pacific performance than that presented by the Pasifika Festival (which is treated in the conclusion of part II) fifty years later. A wartime fund-raiser held at His Majesty’s Theatre in December, the event is billed as a “South Sea Festival,” and the...

    • CHAPTER 5 “It’s Like That with Us Maoris”: Māori Write Connections
      (pp. 123-138)

      When witi ihimaera’sTangiwas reviewed alongside Albert Wendt’sSons for the Return HomeinRongo, there was a striking difference between the presence of Māori in the Pasifika text and the absence of Pasifika in the Māori novel. It is unproductive, uncurious, and intellectually bossy to admonish texts for not being what one hopes them to be, and certainlyTangimade a significant contribution not only to the world of Māori literature but also to New Zealand literature. At the same time, it does feel unfortunate that Māori creative production still tends toward representing experiences that are solely Māori...

    • CHAPTER 6 Manuhiri, Fānau: Pasifika Write Connections
      (pp. 139-154)

      Pasifika communities are in two places at once: in New Zealand, as citizens and residents of a settler nation, and in Aotearoa, as manuhiri in a group of islands in the Pacific populated by relatives. The corpus of published Pasifika writing is uneven but weighty, and like many areas of Pasifika creative production in New Zealand, the literature has enough practitioners to allow us to trace generations of writers. Pasifika writers produce across the spectrum of forms and genres, although it is worth noting that contemporarily in published and produced work, performance arts have been dominated by men, and poetry...

    • CHAPTER 7 When Romeo Met Tusi: Disconnections
      (pp. 155-176)

      The relationship between Indigenous Pacific (Māori) and migrant Pacific (Pasifika) communities in the neighborhoods of New Zealand’s metropolitan centers has been less than smooth. At its most innocuous, this disconnection might be merely implied and reinforced by separation and invisibility. At its most acute, it can take the form of undermining, sabotage, deeply held prejudice, enforcement of social (including sexual) prohibitions, and violent confrontation. We know from the preceding three chapters that Māori–Pasifika relationships have not been singularly competitive and distrustful. Many sites of collaboration and connection are negotiated and work well, in politics and community relationships¹ and in...

    • The Realm of Koura
      (pp. 177-190)

      This is the realm of koura, of Māori, of Aotearoa. Located at the center of the Kelburn campus of Victoria University of Wellington, Te Herenga Waka was the first university marae in Aotearoa New Zealand when it opened in 1986. The marae complex includes an ornately decorated house that was largely carved under the guidance of Takirirangi Smith. The carved pou¹ around the walls of the house were strategically selected to ensure that every Māori student and staff member would have at least one tupuna represented there.² In a conventional carved meetinghouse, at least one post in the center of...

  7. CONCLUSION: E Kore Au e Ngaro
    (pp. 191-212)

    It is tempting to try to imagine what Tupaia was thinking as he painted one specific moment of trade between an Englishman bearing tapa and a Māori man bearing seafood in 1769. Yet Robert Sullivan’s poetry about Tupaia and Mai invoice carried my familyreminds us of the tension between desiring to extol such historical figures and knowing that this itself is a form of representation that could unwittingly “take the middle of [their] throat[s]”:¹

    Who am I to extol Tupaia? Star navigator. Great Chief.

    Cartographer of a chunk of the Pacific Cook claimed his own?

    Loving Tupaia of...

  8. EPILOGUE: A Time and a Place
    (pp. 213-216)

    In august 2008, a deed of settlement was signed between the Port Nicholson Block Claim and the Crown.¹ At Pipitea, marae leaders from Taranaki whānui spoke on behalf of the whānau, including my own family, who had been repeatedly mistreated by successive New Zealand governments. In response, ministers representing the Crown offered an apology and the promise to pass the legislation, which would give effect to the compensation package that had taken over twenty years—and in some ways, 169 years—to negotiate. One of the details of the package was that the “harbor islands,” including Matiu/Somes and Mākaro, would...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 217-248)
  10. Publication History
    (pp. 249-250)
  11. Index
    (pp. 251-266)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 267-267)