Stranger to the Islands: voice, place and the self in Indigenous Studies
Reilly, Michael P J (2009) Stranger to the Islands: voice, place and the self in Indigenous Studies. In: Inaugural Professorial Lecture, 30 April 2009, Dunedin.
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This lecture presents the views of someone anthropologists call a participant-observer, and Māori characterise as a Pākehā, a manuhiri (guest, visitor), or a tangata kē (stranger); the latter two terms contrast with the permanence of the indigenous people, the tangata whenua (people of the land). All of us in this auditorium affiliate to one of these two categories, tangata kē and tangata whenua; sometimes to both. We are all inheritors of a particular history of British colonisation that unfolded within these lands from the 1800s (a legacy that Hone Tuwhare describes as ‘Victoriana-Missionary fog hiding legalized land-rape / and gentlemen thugs’). This legalized violation undermined the hospitality and respect assumed between tangata whenua and tangata kē. Thanks to the Pākehā New Zealand passion for empire this colonial history extended to neighbouring islands, including the Cook Islands, Sāmoa, Niue and the Tokelau Islands. I hope what I will say supports a scholarship which is the work of both strangers and the people of this land; one (to adapt Anne Salmond’s vision) ‘that celebrates both our common humanity and our cultural differences, drawing strength from one without detracting from the other.’
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