Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/13769

Contested Visions of History in Aotearoa New Zealand Literature: Witi Ihimaera's The Matriarch

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Title: Contested Visions of History in Aotearoa New Zealand Literature: Witi Ihimaera's The Matriarch
Authors: Romaine, Suzanne
Keywords: Aotearoa
New Zealand
Witi Ihimaera
Pacific literature
nationhood
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narration

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LC Subject Headings: Oceania -- Periodicals.
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
Citation: Romaine, S. 2004. Contested Visions of History in Aotearoa New Zealand Literature: Witi Ihimaera's The Matriarch. The Contemporary Pacific 16 (1): 31-57.
Abstract: Competing visions of the past constitute contested historical ground in Aotearoa
New Zealand. The novel as a genre constitutes a strategic site in constructing
national identity. This article illustrates how Witi Ihimaera’s historical novel The
Matriarch (1986) presents a new vision that seeks to displace Päkehä discourse
from its privileged position in articulating the country’s history and national identity.
This transformation from outsider to insider perspective is part of a much
wider movement throughout the Pacific and beyond. As a narrative that validates
a Mäori version of nationhood, Ihimaera’s novel can lay a strong claim to be the
novel of modern Aotearoa New Zealand. Nevertheless, the novel has received
mixed reaction among both Mäori and non-Mäori commentators, especially
within influential critical literary circles. These reactions constitute another sort
of contested ground as they raise issues concerning notions of history, literature,
truth, and fiction, and the relationships among them.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/13769
ISSN: 1043-898X
Appears in Collections:TCP [The Contemporary Pacific ], 2004 - Volume 16, Number 1



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