Tauhere UC Connect: Reframing History in Aotearoa & Polynesia

Presenter: Dr Madi Williams (Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Kōata)
  • Date: Wednesday, 5 October 2022 to Wednesday, 5 October 2022
  • Time: 07:00PM to 08:00PM
  • Location: C1 Central Lecture Theatre , University of Canterbury
  • Ticket: Free $0

As noted by Māori scholar Dr Nēpia Mahuika, “New Zealand history is Māori history” first and foremost. Despite this, the histories of Aotearoa New Zealand are often examined in connection to Britain and discussed in terms of colonisation.

While this is an important feature of our colonial history, focusing on this alone neglects the wealth of other connections and serves to erase the vast and rich histories of Māori and links back to Polynesia. The histories of Aotearoa are more accurately situated in a Polynesian context. 

 By examining the period of Polynesian arrival and settlement in Aotearoa, the rich history of the people and land prior to the arrival of Europeans is illuminated. What insight is gained by reframing our history in this way?

 Based on University of Canterbury historian Dr Madi Williams’ 2021 book Polynesia, 900-1600 (Canterbury University Press, $24.99), her upcoming Tauhere UC Connect public lecture explores notions of identity and connection in Aotearoa history. In Reframing History in Aotearoa & Polynesia, Dr Williams will take a longer view of the history of these islands and place them in their Pacific, Polynesian context.

 Reviewer Paul Moon said of her first book: “Perhaps Williams’ greatest feat is the alchemic way she takes base history, and turns it into something that challenges, informs, provokes, and ultimately, shapes our thinking on the subjects she addresses. And in an age with an appetite for instant answers, and a growing fetish with the eternal present, this considered view of a long history, carefully curated, and wonderfully articulated, is just the sort of cultural corrective we need at this moment.”

 About the speaker:

Dr Madi Williams (Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Kōata) is a lecturer in Aotahi – School of Māori and Indigenous Studies at the University of Canterbury. Dr Williams’ research focuses include iwi histories, philosophy of history, and historical perspectives. Her first book Polynesia, 900-1600: An overview of the history of Aotearoa, Rēkohu, and Rapa Nui, looks at the European Middle Ages in South Polynesia. She is currently working on transforming her PhD thesis into a book entitled Ngāti Kuia: Stories About the Past.

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