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Once Were Pacific
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Native identity is usually associated with a particular place. But what if that place is the ocean? Once Were Pacific explores this question as it considers how Māori and other Pacific peoples frame their connection to the ocean, to New Zealand, and to each other through various creative works. Māori scholar Alice Te Punga Somerville shows how and when Māori and other Pacific peoples articulate their ancestral history as migratory seafarers, drawing their identity not only from land but also from water.Although Māori are ethnically Polynesian, and Aotearoa New Zealand is clearly a part of the Pacific region, in New Zealand the terms "Māori" and "Pacific" are colloquially applied to two distinct communities: Māori are Indigenous, and "Pacific" refers to migrant communities from elsewhere in the region. Asking how this distinction might blur historical and contemporary connections, Te Punga Somerville interrogates the relationship between indigeneity, migration, and diaspora, focusing on texts: poetry, fiction, theater, film, and music, viewed alongside historical instances of performance, journalism, and scholarship.In this sustained treatment of the Māori diaspora, Te Punga Somerville provides the first critical analysis of relationships between Indigenous and migrant communities in New Zealand.
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Table of Contents

Contents Nga Mihi: Acknowledgments Introduction: Maori and the Pacific Part I. Tapa: Aotearoa in the Pacific Region 1. Maori People in Pacific Spaces 2. Pacific-Based Maori Writers 3. Aotearoa-Based Maori Writers The Realm of Tapa Part II. Koura: The Pacific in Aotearoa 4. Maori-Pasifika Collaborations 5. "It's like that with us Maoris": Maori Write Connections 6. Manuhiri, Fanau: Pasifika Write Connections 7. When Romeo Met Tusi: Disconnections The Realm of Koura Conclusion: E Kore Au e Ngaro Epilogue: A Time and a Place Notes Publication History Index

About the Author

Alice Te Punga Somerville (Te Atiawa) is senior lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington, where she teaches Maori, Pacific, and Indigenous writing in English.

Reviews

"Alice Te Punga Somverville has writtem a scintillating text that explores the relationship between Maori and our Pacific forebears... "-Ella Henry, Interface "Critical yet imaginative, formalist, and specifically indigenist, the analyses throughout this work are informative, entertaining, and engaging. Ultimately, Once Were Pacific explores works and spaces never before addressed critically."-College Literature "Alice Te Punga Somerville has contributed an outstanding and challenging text to contemporary literary studies in Aotearoa and beyond. With new readings of existing texts, Once Were Pacific offers an impressive depth of analysis about the trade in cultural identity that has evolved in the Polynesian world. This book should be read repeatedly for the insights and understandings the author has carefully presented in its pages."-Journal of New Zealand Literature "Concerned with webs of connections and disconnections across a life as migrants, Once Were Pacific is a literary study of Maori writers writing in English in and across an ocean of islands."-American Quarterly "Alice Te Punga Somerville's Once Were Pacific is the first major study of how Maori and Pacific people talk to each other in Aotearoa/New Zealand and Oceania. It is a splendid book, remarkably lucid, insightful, comprehensive, and accessible."-Albert Wendt, author of Leaves of the Banyan Tree "Once Were Pacific will help us to push beyond orthodox understandings of complex and contemporary Indigenous identities and representational practices through rigorous scholarship that is Maori focused."-Chadwick Allen, Ohio State University

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