Sunday, November 11, 2018

Abolishing, or extending, New Zealand

Image result for zealandia
I'm chuffed to get a mention in Dan Kelly's piece for The Pantograph Punch about the recently discovered continent of Zealandia. Kelly discusses the musician Dudley Benson, who was inspired by the discovery to make an album that reimagines New Zealand as a set of islands connected with, rather than isolated from, the wider Pacific.

There are obvious parallels between Benson and Kelly's use of Zealandia as a bridge between New Zealand and its neighbours and Epeli Hau'ofa's famous notion of Oceania as a liquid continent, or 'sea of islands', bound together by thousands of years of journeys. I was honoured to be a reader for Lana Lopesi's new Bridget Williams book False Divides, which tries to extend Hau'ofa's metaphor into the twenty-first century and the suburbs of Auckland.

Is the conceptual isolation of New Zealand, which was the work, I have argued, of Allen Curnow and his nationalist mates in the '30s and '40s, finally being broken? I certainly hope so.

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