Monday, 16 August 2010

Pacific Literature; Some examples:

Some of you are probably wondering what makes something Pacific Literature?
Well I think I have an idea of what Pacific Literature could be. First of all, I am not sure there is a concrete idea of what it is exactly. This is my representation of what I think may be some ways of thinking about it.

1. Pacific writers/artists etc have to be born there to be Pacific.
2. The topic has to be related to the Pacific. If there is one Pacific character in the story it is Pacific./ If the subject is the Pacific in a painting, it must be Pacific art.
3. To be a Pacific person you have to be brown.

The arguments for each point, with pro's and con's where possible.
1. Born there to be that culture. OK, so that means because I have parents from a certain place but they bring me up (ie I'm born away from their native land) in a different place I can't be a native to the same land as my parents. For example an Italian person who is brought up in the middle of New York city, speaking no Italian.. does that make that individual any 'less' Italian? Or any 'more' American? I think it is to do with the culture you are brought up in/ live in. I consider myself to be a Kiwi, born and raised in New Zealand. That said, when I travel I know I am a Kiwi. Even if I were to leave New Zealand (heaven forbid!) and live elsewhere, I'm sure my accent, along with mannerisms would tell others I am not native to that new place. I'm too Kiwi for my own good!

2. Topic related to the Pacific, hmmm. That invites a whole lot more people to claim themselves to have Pacific works. Katherine Mansfield has stories written about native people (of the Pacific), through stories like "How Pearl Button Was Kidnapped". If the subject is Pacific: This sort of goes with the previous question. It is all to do with perspectives of topic and genre.

3. To be Pacific you have to be brown.
I consider New Zealand to be part of the Pacific. That said, over 3/4 of the population here (not including the migrant families or those who consider themselves to be of other cultures.) are white skinned. Many Maori people I know (personally) are not brown skinned. They consider themselves to be Maori (and therefore people of the Pacific).

This ties in nicely with my next example. Please click the link below to read the blog by my lecturer (at Victoria University of Wellington) Alice Te Punga Sumerville.
We would like to think that people are becoming more culturally sensitive and less racist, but as you will see this is not the case.

As a bit of background you may want to read this article: it is the basis for Alice's piece:

and this one:

There is plenty of comments to be found online about his statement: "I wouldn't feel comfortable. Like all Pakehas would be happy with their daughters coming home with a Maori boy - and the answer is they wouldn't. That's just the reality of the world. Let's not cry about it. Let's just live with it and move on."

What do you think of his words?
By the way it is a little humerous to know his family name was changed to "sound more Maori" yet he seems very anti-Maori culture in his views of the world.

Here's an extra couple of links for an amazing movie: See it if you haven't already!
A great Kiwi film: Boy:

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