Being Maori-Chinese: Mixed Identities
Being Maori-Chinese uses extensive interviews with seven different families to explore historical and contemporary relations between Māori and Chinese, a subject which has never been given serious study before. A full chapter is given to each family which is explored in depth often in the voices of the protagonists themselves.
This detailed and personal approach shows how in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Māori and Chinese, both relegated to the fringes of society, often had warm and congenial bonds, with intermarriage and large Māori-Chinese families. However in recent times the relationship between these two rapidly growing groups has shown tension as Māori have gained confidence in their identity and as increased Asian immigration has become a political issue. Being Maori-Chinese provides a unique and fascinating insight into cross-cultural alliances between Asian and indigenous peoples, revealing a resilience which has endured persecution, ridicule and neglect and offering a picture of New Zealand society which challenges the usual Pākehā-dominated perspective.
Today’s Māori-Chinese, especially younger members, are increasingly reaffirming their multiple roots and, with a growing confidence in the cultural advantages they possess, are playing important roles in New Zealand society.
More about Manying Ip
This is a story whose telling is long overdue, and Manying Ip has told it beautifully and with sensitivity and respect. Most importantly she has allowed the people to tell their own story, in their own words. This book therefore provides a wonderful insight into what it means to be Maori-Chinese. – Nigel Murphy, NZ Chinese Association Bulletin
Each chapter focuses on a particular family and presents an intimate journey into the family culture and individual identities of family members. The book is further testament to the courage and generosity of her subjects, who shared memories and thoughts on many aspects of their lives. Their generosity is particularly moving because, as Ip states, ‘those memories involve a struggle against social discrimination and, in many cases, family disapproval’. - Kate Bagnall