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    The ‘Marae on Paper’: The Meeting House in the Anglophone Fiction of the Maori Renaissance


    Byrne, Sarah (2017) The ‘Marae on Paper’: The Meeting House in the Anglophone Fiction of the Maori Renaissance. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Abstract

    The Maori literary renaissance was period of intense literary and cultural activity that coincided with a protest movement surrounding Maori rights in New Zealand during the 1970s and 80s. The Anglophone Maori fiction that flourished during this period raised important social questions about contemporary Maori identity, the historical and continuing decline of Maori ownership of their ancestral lands, and the social, cultural and political relationship between the Maori and Pakeha [New Zealanders of European descent] communities. This dissertation considers the work of four Maori writers who address these themes: Witi Ihimaera, Patricia Grace, Keri Hulme and Alan Duff. More specifically, it explores the role of the Maori meeting house – and the material arts it houses – as both a formal and thematic influence in their fiction. The meeting house is a wooden apex structure that traditionally symbolises the collective body of a Maori community and narrates their history through the imagery that is carved into its internal walls and supporting structures. It is strongly associated with storytelling and historical record keeping, while also acting as a meeting place for both formal and informal gatherings within the community. For each of these four writers it is subject to numerous and varying interpretations and although it features as a physical structure and site of the action in their fiction, it also shapes each author’s approach to narrative strategy. Drawing on Jacques Rancière’s account of the relationships between aesthetic regimes and sensory perception, I emphasise the importance of perspective and the relationship of perception to the sensible world in the fiction. I show how some Maori authors deployed the Maori meeting house to disrupt the aesthetic protocols and mimetic practices shaping bourgeois national culture, while others inadvertently promoted assimilation instead.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Marae on Paper; Meeting House; Anglophone Fiction; Maori Renaissance;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy > School of English, Media & Theatre Studies > English
    Item ID: 9078
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2017 15:19
    URI:

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