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A post-colonial perspective on the history of Tahiti and the lives of Tahitians. How has the mythological power of Tahitian paradise affected the present day realities of the island? This book is about the power of place.
Kirk records the changes that took place on the islands throughout the period of exploration and colonization. He tracks the rapid deterioration or disappearance of peoples, cultures, and practices, societal structures, and environments. By 1900 most of the islands had been colonized by European countries, the United States, or Chile. While some interventions brought positive changes, others, not surprisingly, benefited the colonizers more than the colonized.
The South Pacific Islands are home to some of the earliest human settlements, are prominent in the European history of exploration and colonization, are the homes of prominent writers, and continue to be places with rich cultures, literary histories, and diversity. Below is sampling of recent writings about the different Islands, the history of exploration, and significant films and fiction.
The reports of Tahitian paradisiacal beauty and a colonial lifestyle unfettered by the strict mores of European society received mixed responses in 18th century Europe. In contrast, while Tahiti was colonized by those who were ready to share in the local way of life, Hawaii was colonized for trade and industry. This book compares the colonial pasts of these two Island cultures looking at the consequences for both the colonized and the colonizer.
Already read the novel? Then dip into this firsthand account of the events of the sea voyage of Captain Bligh and his crew as told by boatswain's mate James Morrison. Morrison was among the crew members who decided to settle in Tahiti. Although not a scientist by training, Morrison was a careful observer who had respect for the Islanders, which gives his narrative a unique perspective.
This book is unique among those listed here in that it looks back to the earliest times, rather than focusing on exploration and colonization. Although in its survey of the story of humankind in the Pacific, the author brings the reader into the present times. Writing from the perspective of the peoples native to the Pacific Islands, Scarr relates the tales that native people told of their own history as well as the ways they incorporated Western ideas and practices into their day to day lives.
For a little present day adventure, documentary film maker Julia Whitty takes you beneath the waves to experience through her eyes, the varieties of underwater life and its fragile nature. Whitty is also an environmental journalist and blogger and author of a collection of short stories, A Tortoise for the Queen of Tonga.
Frame is one of New Zealand’s, and the English language’s preeminent writers. Her autobiography is in the form of a trilogy and makes up an important part of her literary oeuvre. She is the author of eleven novels, four collections of short stories, a book of poetry, a young adult novel, and these three volumes (in this edition all in one) of autobiography. Frame was confined to a psychiatric hospital, and it was only the national recognition of her literary gifts that saved her from a scheduled lobotomy. Some of this story she recounts in her autobiographies and her collection of short stories Prizes: Selected Short Stories.
Duff used a stream of consciousness style narrative for this dark tale of the difficult conditions of poverty and deprivation for one Maori community in New Zealand. The publisher describes the novel as, “a frank and uncompromising portrayal of Maori in New Zealand society. It is a raw and powerful story in which everyone is a victim until the strength and vision of one woman transcends brutality and leads the way to a new life.”
Keri Hulme grew up in Christ Church in New Zealand’s South Island with her parent who were of British, Nordic, and Maori heritage. Her first published book The Bone People won the prestigious Booker Prize. She was the first writer from New Zealand to achieve this honor. Hulme’s work has been inspired by her dreams, and the mythology belonging to the Maori, Celtic, and Norse cultures.
This novel, made into a popular film in 2003, tells the story of Pai who, raised by her grandparents after the death of her mother and Pai’s baby brother, takes on the role of the first born male in the family and rides the whale.