Telling Stories: Indigenous History and Memory in Australia and New Zealand

Telling Stories: Indigenous History and Memory in Australia and New Zealand

Telling Stories: Indigenous History and Memory in Australia and New Zealand

Telling Stories: Indigenous History and Memory in Australia and New Zealand

Synopsis

Exploring the various forms of indigenous storytelling in Australia and New Zealand, this study is a great contribution to the recovery and accurate representation of the past. Often telling the same story from different perspectives, it examines the places of life stories and of memory in history, who tells life stories, and the purpose for which they are told. The role of story and history in the politics of land claims and the impact of language on research and writing are also discussed in this comprehensive critical and analytic approach to the nature of stories.

Excerpt

It was an invitation to speak about my ‘trilogy’ of books in July 1997 that first jolted my personal memories into an articulated form, for while the three works in question were born one from the other, they were neither planned nor constructed with such a purpose in mind. The ‘unanticipated trilogy’ grew from a series of personal dialogues over time, and from the discovery that family oral stories may provide crucial keys to unlock histories that have been previously unacknowledged in the public arena. The three books are very different in their formats, but they all arose from talking with Maori elders about their ‘recent’ past—fragments of their collective colonial experience.

The first book, Mihaia (Messiah), published in 1979, is a co/ authored study of the Tuhoe prophet leader, Rua Kenana. It was constructed around early photographs, whose existence had been previously unknown to most Tuhoe (and indeed to most people). The second book, also co-authored, is Ngā Mōrehu: The Survivors; published in 1986, it narrates the histories of eight Maori women . . .

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