New Zealand Literature Criticism: Maori Literature - Essay

Jane McRae (essay date 1991)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: McRae, Jane. “Māori Literature: A Survey.” In The Oxford History of New Zealand Literature in English, edited by Terry Sturm, pp. 1-24. Auckland, New Zealand: Oxford University Press, 1991.

[In the following essay, McRae documents Maori oral and written literature as it developed in New Zealand, including brief discussions of poetry, publishing history, and cultural and political context.]


Before there was a literature of New Zealand, there was a Māori oral tradition of Aotearoa with an ancient history which began in the Polynesian homeland of Hawaiki. A Māori literary tradition has a recent...

(The entire section is 13943 words.)

Trevor James (essay date 1996)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: James, Trevor. “‘Telling Our Own Stories’: Reclaiming Difference, a Maori Resistance to Postculturalism.” In Cross-Addressing: Resistance Literature and Cultural Borders, edited by John C. Hawley, pp. 51-65. New York: State University of New York Press, 1996.

[In the following essay, James contends that Maori writers have infused a distinctive sense of spirituality into their writing, using this as a means of differentiating themselves from New Zealand writers of European descent.]

The thrust of this [essay] may be simply stated. In New Zealand literature one of the ways by which Maori writers have defined an indigenous identity has been to claim a...

(The entire section is 5740 words.)