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Analysing Maori literature – some tools

March 8, 2012

Just an aside, really, but Ann Pistacchi asserts that “Judith Dell Panny’s Turning the Eye: Patricia Grace and the Short Story (1997) has become an invaluable resource and curriculum guide for teachers and students of Grace’s texts. Each chapter reprints one of Grace’s short stories with commentary on the cultural context of the story, discussion topics for classroom use, and a glossary of Maori words and phrases. Panny followed this book with the publication of the more scholarly The Culture Within: Essays on Ihimaera, Grace, Hulme, Tuwhare (1998).” (17)

After the very specific focus of Panney’s work, “The publication of Otto Heim’s celebrated book, Writing Along Broken Lines: Violence and Ethnicity in Contemporary Maori Fiction (1998),” Pistacchi declares, was “a much needed addition to the scholarship on Maori writing because it broadened the range of Maori authors being studied and discussed. Focusing entirely on Maori texts, Heim’s book positions both poetic and fictional texts by Maori writers in the context of ‘a culture of survival’ that ‘consistently turns weaknesses into strength’ (25). The study considers issues of violence in texts written by Witi Ihimaera, Patricia Grace, and Keri Hulme, but also examines the works of J.C. Sturm, Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Apirana Taylor, Alan Duff, Bruce Stewart and others in an attempt to examine the ways in which ‘writing that is marked by violence immerses itself in the most troubling aspects of existence, pain and suffering, and lays bare the moral snares of the imagination’ (Heim 11). Heim’s examination of this ‘culture of survival’,” Pistacchi explains, “helped to frame the acts of survivance I have identified in the works of Grace, Morris and Morey in the following chapters.” (17)

Ref: Ann Katherine Pistacchi (2009) Spiralling Subversions: The Politics of Maori Cultural Survivance in the Recent Critical Fictions of Patricia Grace, Paula Morris, and Kelly Ana Morey. PhD thesis, University of Auckland: Auckland. (freely available online)

NOTE also: Non-maori-research-strategies

A description of kaupapa Maori theory

Collaborative research stories: whakawhanaungatanga

Kaupapa Maori resource


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