Tuamaka: The Challenge of Difference in Aotearoa New Zealand

Joan Metge

Author: Joan Metge
Format: Paperback, Ebook
Pages: 136
Published: June 2010
Specs: 21.0cm x 13.8cm
ISBN: 9781869404680

Available in Ebook

‘Tuamaka’ is the rope that Maui and his brothers used to snare the sun. Plaited with flax, the rope gained its strengths from the bringing together of its different strands.

In her new book, Tuamaka, renowned anthropologist Dame Joan Metge asks what sort of rope we need to forge our multicultural future. She identifies the Treaty, the words and the stories with which all New Zealanders can gain the strength that comes from twining people and ideas together. The Treaty is our founding narrative, Metge suggests – and she tells a story of cultures meeting, arguing and then dealing with diversity. Māori and English, increasingly used in the same sentence, are our languages and Metge shows how Māori words are used and abused in everyday speech and the media. Finally, the art of storytelling – from myths of Māui and James Cook to present day whakapapa – is how we understand the land and ourselves. Dame Joan ends Tuamaka with a personal reflection on her life as a New Zealander and as an anthropologist living deeply within two cultures over six decades of field work.

Tuamaka shows us all how as a nation we can turn the challenge of difference into one of our great national assets. In this moving book, our leading anthropologist delivers an engaging manifesto for living together in Aotearoa New Zealand.


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This is another gem from Dame Joan, six essays plumbing the depths of cross-cultural comprehension. – Sir Edward Durie, KNZM

Respected anthropologist Dame Joan Metge uses the metaphor of weaving to share her deep love and knowledge of the culture of Aotearoa and raise questions on what it means to live here. Part memoir, part essay, this is a personal gem. - Mana Magazine

Metge’s observations are best seen as a snapshot of how things are today, with each page of this book throwing up a provocative idea that will help continue this most constructive national debate. - Paul Little, North & South