Thursday, November 19, 2009

Was Ronald Hugh Morrieson really a goth?

In an article for The Independent which has also appeared on his blog, Chris Trotter discusses the controversy over Dargaville museum's claims that a pale-skinned 'Waitaha' people inhabited New Zealand before Maori. Trotter accurately describes the promoters of the 'Waitaha myth' as 'a curious collection of rogue anthropologists, pseudo-historians, New Age mystics, and old-fashioned racial supremacists', and suggests that the myth serves an essentially political purpose:

The Waitaha myth, like the Moriori myth before it, answers a number of urgent needs in its provincial Pakeha creators. It destroys the Maori claim to indigeneity. It reaffirms the historical superiority of European civilisation. And, by extending out the length of time civilised people have dwelt in New Zealand from hundreds to thousands of years, it renders Maori culture irrelevant. Most importantly, however, these new myth-makers reassure historically disoriented Pakeha that their cultural "connection" to these islands is far stronger than that of the brutal primitives who destroyed the wonder and glory that was Waitaha.

Light is the best answer to mould, and Trotter's article aims a bright light at a putrid idea which has festered and spread in relative obscurity over the last decade or so. Thanks to Trotter, thousands of Kiwis who would not be aware of the debates about pseudo-history in the blogosphere will have been forewarned about the untenable claims and unpleasant motives of pseudo-historians like Noel Hilliam and Martin Doutre.

While I appreciate Trotter's intervention against the pseudo-historians, and share his view of the political agenda of people like Hilliam and Doutre, I can't agree with some of the more general points his article makes about Pakeha New Zealand society. Trotter begins his piece by suggesting that the novels of Ronald Hugh Morrieson, with their 'pitch-black nightmares of small-town dysfunction' and sudden outbreaks of sexually-charged violence, say something essential about Pakeha New Zealanders. Pakeha are, in the opinion of Trotter, a 'prickly people, prone to sudden mood changes'. The source of our unease is, he thinks, geographical: 'alone' in our 'empty land', we have 'a murderous need to feel at home'.

Trotter believes that this need to feel at home drives us to construct reassuring myths, like the Moriori myth, which suggested that the people that Pakeha colonised were themselves colonisers, and thus somehow 'deserved' the invasions of the Waikato Kingdom and Parihaka, or the myth that, ever since the wars of the nineteenth century petered out, Pakeha and Maori have lived in harmony as New Zealanders. As the Moriori myth and the myth of good reace relations have broken down in recent decades, pseudo-historians like Doutre and Hilliam have laboured to erect new obfuscations in their place.

Trotter's view of Pakeha identity brings together two discourses which have at different times been popular amongst New Zealand intellectuals. His belief that New Zealand's isolation and small population have created a sort of existential anxiety amongst its non-indigenous inhabitants has its origins in the work that writers like Charles Brasch, Allen Curnow, and MH Holcroft produced in the middle decades of the twentieth century. In the essays of Holcroft and the early poems of Curnow and Brasch, the New Zealand landscape is, despite the best efforts of generations of white settlers, an eerie, alien thing which will not let its appropriators feel at ease, let alone at home. Physical alienation breeds social alienation, and in Brasch's much-quoted poem 'The Silent Land', the tight little colonial towns which sat beside harbours and rivermouths are as inhospitable as the landscape around them:

The plains are nameless and the cities cry for meaning,
The unproved heart still seeks a vein of speech


In one of his most famous poems, Curnow gazed at the skeleton of a moa in Canterbury museum and felt a kinship for the anomalous, ill-fated species. The poet seemed to despair of escaping the feelings of isolation and inadequacy New Zealand gave him:

Not I, some child, born in a marvellous year,
Will learn the trick of standing upright here.


Not all of Curnow and Brasch's readers shared their bleak vision of New Zealand. In the years after World War Two a group of young intellectuals based in Auckland aggressively questioned the idea that they lived in some sort of 'silent land', and denied being victims of geography. Growing up in the working class Auckland suburb of Point Chevalier, close to old pa sites, Chinese market gardens, and communities of Dalmatian immigrants, Kendrick Smithyman and his friends and fellow poets Keith Sinclair and Bob Chapman found talk of a 'silent land' incomprehensible. The young iconoclasts formed what they called the 'Mudflats School of Poetry', and contrasted it to the 'Empty Plains and Hills' school of Brasch and Curnow. Although Sinclair and Chapman lost some of their early interest in poetry - Sinclair became New Zealand's best-known historian, and Chapman eventually had the dubious distinction of being the country's first professional political scientist - Smithyman would develop the critique of Brasch and Curnow in both poetry and prose.

In his 1965 book A Way of Saying, Smithyman rejected the literary nationalism of Brasch and Curnow and put forward a fiercely regionalist vision of New Zealand literature and New Zealand society. Poems like 'The Silent Land' were, Smithyman insisted, part of a 'Canterbury myth', which had little or no relevance to the rest of the country. Smithyman was a scholar of Northland history and literature, and he knew that this part of the country, with its large Maori and Dalmatian populations, its hills covered in ancient earthworks, and its villages that had been continuously inhabited for many hundreds of years, could not be understood through the poems of South Island writers like Brasch and Curnow.

At the same time that Smithyman was writing his manifesto for regionalism, the Wellington poet and critic Louis Johnson was also taking issue with the literary nationalism of Curnow and Brasch. Johnson and his supporters claimed that poems like 'The Silent Land' underestimated the success that New Zealanders had had in adapting to their new environment, and ignored the vibrancy of cities like Wellington.

Literary nationalism has been out of fashion in New Zealand for decades. With the benefit of hindsight, the anguish of poems like 'The Silent Land' seems like an expression of the frustration of a small group of young intellectuals trying to establish a foothold in a relatively philistine culture, not an authentic representation of general Pakeha feeling.

Chris Trotter's vision of Pakeha New Zealand society owes much to the 'Canterbury myth', but it also borrows from a more recent and more fashionable view of our culture. Over the last decade or so, the term 'New Zealand gothic' has become popular amongst commentators on Pakeha art. The films, songs and books which best fit the term 'New Zealand gothic' were all created over the past thirty years, and consist of fanciful visions of small town and rural New Zealand. In films like the The Locals and songs like Don McGlashan's 'Passenger 26', urban Kiwis find themselves stranded in the sticks and left to the tender mercies of people who do not share their sophisticated, liberal tastes and prejudices. With its caricature of provincial New Zealand as the abode of inbred, often violent eccentrics, the 'New Zealand gothic' genre is an expression of the steadily increasing distance between urban and rural New Zealand.

Ronald Hugh Morrieson is often cited as the father of the 'New Zealand gothic', but his novels have nothing at all to do with the genre. His books are certainly violent, but they are also funny and frequently joyful, and his characters are lovable rather than monstrous eccentrics. Morrieson wrote to celebrate the life of his native South Taranaki, not to make it the butt of urban jokes.

Julia Millen's 1996 biography of Morrieson showed that he was a man who saw the flat country in the shadow of Mt Taranaki as his turangawaewae, and who hated and feared the prospect of travel. As a young man, Morrieson left south Taranaki to study at the University of Auckland; after only a few days in the strange city, though, he became desperately homesick, and returned to his beloved Hawera. Apart from a trip to Wellington to attend court and a disastrous appearance at a literary festival in Whanganui, Morrieson never left his native country again.

Both the 'silent land' myth of Brasch and Curnow and the fantasies of the 'New Zealand gothic' genre are the work of metropolitan intellectuals who are, at best, incurious about the particularities of life in the regions of New Zealand. In his life and in his work, Ronald Hugh Morrieson was a regionalist. If we want to understand him and his world, then we need to attend to Kendrick Smithyman's warnings about the dangers of airy generalisations about abstractions like 'New Zealand' and 'Pakeha identity'.

27 Comments:

Blogger Fatal Paradox said...

Personally although I can't stand NZ literary or artistic nationalism of any variety I've always found that, as a Pakeha South Islander, the "empty land" motif of poets like Curnow does resonate strongly with my own experience of growing up in an environment seemingly empty of any meaningful cultural or history.

One of my favourite Don McGlashan lyrics is from his song "Envy of Angels" which runs as follows:

And all this time I wanted to be / somewhere that wasn't so new / where you didn't have to dig yourself out / a place to stand

Do I feel that NZ is a land of cultural philistines? I suppose I do, but this isn't so much because out of any Eurocentric bias but rather out of frustration at our inability to rouse ourselves from our small-minded provincial stupor.

Indeed, I would just as happily live in Bolivia, Morocco or India as Europe - anywhere would have to be better than dreary "Godzone"!

1:51 pm  
Blogger maps said...

Hi Tim,

interesting comments. Smithyman might not necessarily have disagreed with you about the South Island. When Landfall interviewed him in the late '80s, he said that, as far as he was concerned, the South Island was 'a foreign country'. I like the South Island very much, but I feel the same way about the place.

And I think that a lot of South Islanders (yourself not included) struggle when they try to understand some issues that relate most often to the North Island. I note that Chris Trotter and a lot of the other leftists who see the politics of tino rangatiratanga and the notion of biculturalism as little more than distractions from the good old class struggle hail from the south.

Smithyman seems to have objected to Brasch and the early Curnow when they claimed to be writing for New Zealand as a whole, or else writing about parts of the world he knew. In A Way of Saying he complains about a poem that Brasch wrote about Rangitoto because it presents the island as this brooding, alien thing - it didn't seem that way to the people who lived around it, Smithyman argued.

It's interesting that 'The Envy of Angels' reenacts the drive Don McGlashlan often made along the road through Auckland's North Shore to see his aged parents in Silverdale. The song is addressed to McGlashlan's father, who as an engineer of some sort helped design the new suburbs of the Shore after World War Two.

McGlashlan said that as a teenager he considered his father to be responsible for creating an ugly urban sprawl, but that as he got older he realised he was blessed to grow up on the Shore. 'There's nothing wrong with growing up in the shadow of an ugly garage', was how he put it, if I remember rightly.

It seems, then, that the lines you've picked out are supposed to be complaining about life in a freshly-minted suburb, rather than life in a country where Europeans are relatively newcomers. Your interpretation of them is valid and interesting, of course, but I do think it's interesting to note the difference between the meanings you and McGlashlan find.

I always thought that there was something about the way McGlashlan delivered the words 'dig yourself out/ a place to stand' which suggested that he was simultaneously perturbed and excited by the 'newness' of his surroundings. It's as though his environment presented a challenge to his imagination which, in retrospect, he feels he needed.

It's a damn fine song, anyway. I remember seeing him open a show with it at the Bruce Mason Centre back around 1996. Best euphonium solo of all time.

Finally: what about different regional identities within the South Island? Do you think Brasch and Curnow's bleaker poems would apply to, say, the West Coast, which seems, to an outsider like me at least, to have its own distinctive culture and history?

2:36 pm  
Blogger Fatal Paradox said...

I've never spent more than a few days at a time on the West Coast, so my perspective is pretty much one of an outsider there too but I think that it probably does have a different "feel" to the rest of the South Island.

Possibly this is due to the sense of community that seems to exist in areas like Westport and Karamea which were of course heavily influenced by Celtic migrants, so different to the overwhelming sense of social atomisation/dislocation that you get in the more Anglo areas like Canterbury.

Of course the landscape plays a part too - in places like South Canterbury, where I spent the early part of my childhood, the sun-baked, treeless, empty landscape is hardly conducive to attempts at a positive engagement...

Interesting to find out about the genesis of the McGlashan song - I must say that although I enjoy central Auckland and Wellington immensely their suburban outliers such as the Hutt Valley, Hamilton and the North Shore fill me with dread and dismay whenever I visit them - too much like being back in Christchurch! Unfortunately I am compelled to visit Hamilton on a more or less annual basis now that I have in-laws living there...

3:21 pm  
Anonymous Richard C. said...

Interesting comments about Envy of Angels (and a typically fascinating post).

For what it's worth, I tend to side with Maps' view of the song - which I agree is terrific.

I'm very fond of the line about 'ridges and valleys and underground streams' and knowing 'what's under your feet'.

Strikes me as a song of curiousity rather than one of estrangement.

3:28 pm  
Blogger maps said...

Ha! I have in-laws in Hamilton too! Will you be there round Xmas?
The art gallery-museum is very good, and there's an excellent secondhand bookshop across the road from it (I got my copy of Marx's Ethnographic Notebooks there).

I think the Pakeha of the town do have something of an identity crisis: I came down the main street with the foreshore and seabed hikoi, and the atmosphere was very hostile: very few whities in the march and scores of them standing on the pavement looking on with a mixture of curiousity and malice.

There are some very interesting small towns around Hamilton, though, as well as mountains and harbours that are both scenic and historic.

Jack Ross is the poet laurete (along with McGlashlan, perhaps) of the ugly North Shore of Auckland:

http://readingthemaps.blogspot.com/2006/12/more-on-shore.html

What do you make of the 'big sky' group of Canterbury poets who have responded affirmatively to the landscape?

3:30 pm  
Anonymous Keri h said...

I found this a most intriguing post Maps (well, arnt pretty well all of them!)

As a person of Maori(Kai Tahu) & Pakeha (Scots & English) I had/have a completely different perspective to that of Fatal Paradox. I grew up in the South (over the Waitaki) and in Canterbury (North Beach) and *everywhere* was rich with familial associations (e.g.Richard Driver arrived in 1839 and my Scots forbears in 1847, so my mother's Pakeha lines were 5 & 3 generations old by the time she was born.) All the Southern part of the island sang with history,with family, with the dead...
While I love McGlashan's work, his words just dont resonate with me (I also really enjoy RHM's books - but they to be set in another country...)

And I couldnt live anywhere else (Not even in Te Ika-a-Maui!)

Smithyman was bang on the money when you quote him (or infer he said) "it didnt seem that way to people who lived " there-

incidentally, I've lived on the West Coast for a lot of my life. While there *is* a considerable Celtic-as-in-Irish input into the gene pool, there is also quite a bit of Yorkshire & Kati Wairaki...the closer you get to the people & the place here, the less simple the whole picture becomes (one of my neighbours, born of the Coast of Coasters has Micmac ancestry.)

The 'West Coast culture' I encountered in 1970 has pretty well gone - not least because the older generations of Pakeha have died out, and a very large number of their descendants have shifted away from the Coast. There are fewer people living on the Coast than when I arrived in 1970...

3:51 pm  
Blogger Fatal Paradox said...

I keep meaning to visit the art gallery in Hamilton but have yet to do so - I think I was put off by the fact that my uncle who worked there during the 1980s had few good things to say about his time there (he got terribly depressed, moved to Australia and hasn't returned since)...

I know the bookshop you refer to Maps - I was there in June and managed to pick up some second-hand editions of Borges, Bakhtin and Saint-Exupéry. Really a surprisingly good selection - also they are open til ridiculously late at night! (as a result I was told by one local that the beggar who resides on the pavement outside apparently makes a fortune). Will be up there again in mid Feb for my father-in-laws 60th, so hope to visit again (after all there's precious little else to do...)

I take it by "Big Sky Poets" you're referring to James Norcliffe and writers of a similar ilk? I have to admit I'm not terribly familiar with those works so I'll have to decline to pass judgment (my knowledge of NZ poetry being mostly confined to the interwar generation).

I guess though Keri's comment illustrates that not all South Islanders feel the same way about their physical environment - I'm reminded of Owen Marshall's innumerable short stories set in provincial South Canterbury towns, which are apparently loved by the NZ reading public yet to me always seemed a morbid catalogue of human viciousness and banality...

4:29 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

noel hilliam is being quoted as a 'historian' in the news today:

http://nz.news.yahoo/a/-/latest/6492897/historian-scratching-head-over-skull/

wonder if he'll try to steal it and say it's an ancient celt's?

or maybe...one of the top-ranking nazis he said settled down in northland after the war...

5:20 pm  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

"... A Way of Saying he complains about a poem that Brasch wrote about Rangitoto because it presents the island as this brooding, alien thing..."

I think Brasch was right - I feel about Rangitoto like that sometimes.

Yet, as well as Curnow - I see a darkness (not Gothic nonsense) in the work about the land etc in Smithyman's work.

Curnow's darkest work seems to me about the Moro assassinations. In fact I find his writing disturbing I cant read it - as John Geraerts said re Alan Curnow's work: "It fucks with my head"

(H D said "Good!" to that and I can see his point but I still have trouble reading Curnow lately...)

I was reading some Brash - maybe for he first time the other day - and in particular that poem and I couldn't see that it is necessarily even about NZ - I think the poem has been misinterpreted - it maybe is more about the writer himself, or simply about personal loneliness or isolation or alienation (not quite sure what or why) or the psyche maybe - or that was my impression - I will have another look. Brasch wrote so many poems.
He was homosexual, like Sargeson, and in his day it was probably another cause of his "darkness"...by the way, he very quietly gave a lot of money to many literary an musical causes in NZ. He helped a lot of people.*

There sees to be "darkness" in NZ which is possibly underestimated by outsiders - but I don't think it is unique to us.

I don't agree with "Paradox" that we are uniquely boring if we are - if NZ is dull then perhaps those thinking it is so are dull.

There is dark edge to Morrieson but there is also humour. He is one of the greats like Barry Crump (who is very amusing) - pity he (R H M) didn't write more.

*And "darkness" can be enriching in a way ... but I don't like Gothic or "horror" a lot of which seems to me verging on the childish (esp. if it's the total focus - if like surrealism - Gothic is used as a part of a work - then I feel it can be great...but writing that predominates or wallows in it seems to me largely to fail. So I see that humour helps to restore reality for if NZ is 'dark' it is also 'happy' - it is a complex of life, as is any place. But it is not 'dull'.

9:58 pm  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

Perhaps not much Gothic in Barry Crump though!

9:59 pm  
Anonymous Keri h said...

Dear Richard Taylor - the only darkness you percieve in our shining bright land comes from yourself (and, maybe, your histories...)

10:06 pm  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

"I'm reminded of Owen Marshall's innumerable short stories set in provincial South Canterbury towns, which are apparently loved by the NZ reading public yet to me always seemed a morbid catalogue of human viciousness and banality..."

You mean all of his stories or those set there? I find some of his stories to be among the best writing I have encountered anywhere. (e.g many in the Collection "The Master of Big Jingles")

10:09 pm  
Blogger Fatal Paradox said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:26 pm  
Blogger Fatal Paradox said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:29 pm  
Blogger Fatal Paradox said...

Hi Richard,

I'm thinking of stories like "Tomorrow We Save The Orphans" and "The Rule of Jenny Pen". So many of the protagonists in Marshall's stories seem small-minded and bathetic without achieving the comedic value that similarly unattractive protagonists like those who populate the novels of Graham Greene do at least manage to.

I guess though my reading of Marshall is coloured by my own "biographical baggage", having spent the early part of my life growing up in a vicarage in a small South Canterbury town which I think prejudiced me for life against provincial New Zealand...

10:30 pm  
Blogger maps said...

Tim,

you grew up in a vicarage in Canterbury? Sounds remarkably like the childhood of Allen Curnow!

I should have qualified my earlier remarks about Curnow by saying that his later work has little to do with literary nationalism, and is, in my opinion, quite superb. Have you seen his very late poem 'Easrly Days Yet', which is about the drives he sed to do with his vicar Dad around the parishes of Canterbury on Sundays in a Model T Ford? There's a magical passage which reeancts the poem in Shirley Horrocks' doco about Curnow.

11:08 pm  
Blogger Fatal Paradox said...

I haven't seen that particular poem - I do however vividly remember being driven around the Sunday circuit of churches in godforsaken towns on the shores of Lake Ellesmere and further south towards the mouth of the Selwyn River (a depressing stretch of coastline if ever there was one!)

AFAIK the district's only claim to fame was that Dan Carter grew up there. As for the rest it seems now only a distant haze of war memorials, plunket rooms and derelict community halls...

11:41 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"his characters are lovable rather than monstrous eccentrics".

The Scarecrow is about, among other things, a psycho-sexual killer who murders young girls with a knife and fantasizes about inserting that knife into the vagina of the hero's sister. This does not seem all that lovable.

2:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shame there is a resounding silence on this blog about the plagiarism debate surrounding noted academic, writer and celebrity Witi Ihimaera. Normally you are so acerbic about matters cultural. Noel Hilliam for example seems to be a pet hate. Yet on the matter of the hour there is a long piece on, I'm sorry, Ronald Hugh Morrieson. Is it that Witi is a form of house pet who shouldn't be kicked? Or doesn't it fit within your scaldingly politicised view point - that of a pakeha who is always speaking on behalf of Maori - at a time in history when - hello! - reality check - Maori are quite capable of speaking for themselves. Answers please!

2:27 pm  
Blogger maps said...

What a snarky comment anon! Why don't you write a guest post for us on Witi's woes: put it in this thread and I'll make it a stand-alone post.

Tim, the coastline around Lake Ellesmere is, in my humble opinion, quite magical - at least, it seemed that way on the one occasion when I visisted it. I remember Birdlings Flat, which reminded me of a Brett Wong painting...

2:48 pm  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

"Fatal Paradox" Ok we all see different aspects of writers

"Keri" - Just had that feeling sometimes I don't mean it actually is dark - but there IS a lot of darkness* (felt or assumed or it frames what he write about) in Smithyman (sometimes the land, the history, (the bush itself)) and people there (in his poems) sometimes seem positively evil, in fact the antipathy (even the horror of) of nature is one theme I picked up) - I went through many of his volumes poem by poem in 2004 I think it was - that said it is often "brighter" than that of Curnow who is very dark - this doesn't mean I don't like C's (or Smty's) poetry or don't see its great merit.

And indeed, any darkness or lightness is inside ourselves - always is. For me Alan Curnow over does it. But it is also that at one stage I was reading his poems over and over (as I read R A K Mason as boy and perhaps Leggott (in more recent years)), and found I couldn't get his lines out of my mind, such is the power of his writing; at one a stage.

Hence Geraets:
"He fucks with my mind"

Sums my experience of reading A.C.

But I also read many writers outside NZ.

I like the stories of Joyce Carol Oates (often very dark), Angela Carter, Borges, and many others (I''m reading Balzac right now..)

Jack Ross's EMO is a fascinating book if you can get a copy - I did review but God knows where that review might appear...but it also has much of the "Gothic" and the "dark" - that said - it goes deeper than superfical "effects" and so on..but Jack was/is influenced a lot by the "daring" (and methods perhaps) of such as Kathy Acker. His EMO will always be challenging however...
In his EMO we have a unique, very original, and fascinating work.

But no darkness in NZ? What about the Bain murders, and the David Gray episode? For starters! In my "dark " moments I curse kiwis... I still think Brasch had a point.

Another writer of significance in (and originally hailing from) the South Island was Leicester Kyle, who I knew very well.. He died in 2006 and was mostly very positive but his parents in Christchurch both committed suicide and his daughter also did about 2 years before his own death.

Looking at his work - he seemed remarkably free of "darkness" or despair but there is a lot of irony. For the best writers the darkness becomes a kind of richness.

I remember reading Ihimaera's early works years ago and they were some of the few books or stories that actually made me cry. Another such (somehow deeply moving) was the poetry of Victor Hugo.

*But there is such a lot going on in Smithyman's work that that dark aspect is perhaps only "coloration" - not the core - it seems to me to be much more central in Curnow.

10:38 pm  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

But like Whitman I want to contradict myself - there is also a lot of sheer goodness in the people of NZ.

10:40 pm  
Blogger Edward said...

I don't think one can really compare the politically and racially motivated pseudo-science of Hilliam et al. with a few plagarised passages in Witi Ihimaera's latest book. And I didn't know there was debate surrounding Ihimaera's work anyway, at least not anywhere credible (the NZ Herald and Radio NZ don't really count in my opinion - they're tabloid-style at best). Of course plagarism is serious, but the fact that it makes up such a small percentage of his book, and the fact that he has apologised profusely and the matter is now being corrected should be the end of the story should it not? Mistakes happen. What more is there to say? Not much to debate about. Unless you can give us an idea of what you think perhaps?

1:10 pm  
Anonymous Mike said...

Maps - A thought-provoking piece, thank you.

I've often wondered what these various "schools of NZ literature" are on about. Are they really tapping "deep dark" currents of Pakeha experience? Or do they sublimate a shared sense of isolation - the predicament of "the Poet or Artist in NZ Society".

One local novelist I always find very refreshing, by contrast, is Robin Hyde (Iris Wilkinson). She seemed genuinely interested in the ways of life of her NZ characters, not uncritically, but with a resilient optimism that contrasts markedly with Sargeson and the whole tradition of "outsider"-type NZ writers.

My theory is that because she worked as a journalist, she mixed with a multitude of people, listened, laughed, appreciated, remembered their stories. "Passport to Hell" was virtually an oral history. Rather than purveying the "empty land" myth, her works reflect a far more interesting and rounded vision of NZ.

1:13 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris Trotter flies off the handle all the time. He compares the Maori Party to the Nazis in a new article -
http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com/2009/11/asset-or-liability.html

5:47 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Yes, Iris Murdoch is great.

2:58 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Lol! Robyn Hyde! How did I make that cross copulation?

Ah...Iris Wilkinson...

3:00 pm  

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