Joan Metge Celebrates 80th Year with New Book on State of the Nation
*Renowned anthropologist and cultural commentator Dame Joan Metge (b 1930) has just released a new book/ Tuamaka: The
Challenge of Difference in Aotearoa New Zealand/ published by Auckland University Press.*
*?Tuamaka? is the flax rope used by Mâui and his brothers to snare the sun. Just as the tuamaka gains strength from the
combination of its different strands, Joan Metge plaits together the Treaty, the words and the stories that give New
Zealanders a rope for building a future in Aotearoa New Zealand.*
In his preface to the book, the Hon Sir Edward Durie notes, ?The tuamaka of the title of this book is the technical name
for a rope plaited in the round from five or six strands of flax fibre, one of the several kinds of rope that the
mythical Mâori hero Mâui and his brothers made in preparation for snaring the sun. The title highlights the frequent use
in the book of the Mâori metaphor of the taura whiri (the plaited rope), which emphasises the unity and strength that
comes from weaving people together.?
*In /Tuamaka /Dame Joan tells a story of cultures meeting, arguing, and then dealing with diversity. Through the Treaty
as a founding narrative, the increasing use of Maori in our national lexicon and the art of storytelling ? from Maui to
Cook to our own whakapapa ? she unlocks the key to understanding our land and people, and ends with a personal
reflection on her life as a New Zealanders and an anthropologist living deeply within two cultures over nearly six
*This moving book delivers an engaging manifesto for living together in Aotearoa, turning the challenge of difference
into one of our great national assets. *
Professor Alison Jones of The University of Auckland?s Te Puna Wânanga ? School of Mâori Education says, ?Dame Joan
Metge is one of a handful of Pâkehâ writers who has ?insider? knowledge of Mâori settings, and staunch Mâori admirers;
her writing makes plain the reason for her considerable mana. Her humble yet rope-strong voice must inspire anyone
interested in the complexities and possibilities of the Mâori-Pâkehâ relationship.?
An anthropologist by training, Dame Joan has been a tireless worker for cross-cultural understanding, particularly
well-known for her groundbreaking research in Maori communities and the urban migrations of the mid-twentieth century.
She has been a leading scholar on Maori topics since the 1950s, famous for her outstanding promotion of cross-cultural
awareness. She has published a number of important books on Maori history and society and on cross-cultural
communication, including /The Maoris of New Zealand /(1967/1976), /Talking Past Each Other /(1978/1984), /New Growth
From Old /(1995) and /Korero Tahi /(AUP, 2001). Her famous work /Rautahi: The Maoris of New Zealand /was republished by
Routledge in 2004.
She was created a DBE (Dame Commander of the British Empire) in 1987 for her services to anthropology. And among her
many honours, she was awarded The Royal Society of New Zealand?s (RSNZ) inaugural Te Rangi Hiroa Medal for outstanding
scientific research in the social sciences and, in 2006, became the third recipient of the Asia-Pacific Mediation Forum
Peace Prize, after Jose Ramos-Horta, of East Timor, and the Bougainville Restorative Justice Project.
/Tuamaka: The Challenge of Difference in Aotearoa New Zealand /
Preface by the Hon Sir Edward Taihâkurei Durie
Published by Auckland University Press
Paperback; 152 pages; RRP $29.99