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HONE TUWHARE AND SIR APIRANA TAYLOR: MAORI POETS.

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Presentation on theme: "HONE TUWHARE AND SIR APIRANA TAYLOR: MAORI POETS."— Presentation transcript:

1 HONE TUWHARE AND SIR APIRANA TAYLOR: MAORI POETS

2 TUWHARE, Hone (1922–2008), is New Zealand’s most distinguished Maori poet writing in English, and also a playwright and author of short fiction. He was born in Kaikohe into the Nga Puhi tribe (hapu Ngati Korokoro, Ngati Tautahi, Te Popoto, Uri-o-hau). When his mother died his father moved to Auckland, where Hone attended primary schools in Avondale, Mangere and Ponsonby. He spoke Maori until he was about 9, and his father, an accomplished orator and storyteller in Maori, encouraged his son’s interest in the written and spoken word, especially in the rhythms and imagery of the Old Testament. During his time in an apprenticeship (1939–44) at the Otahuhu Railway Workshops Tuwhare met the poet R.A.K. *Mason, who encouraged him to write, and like Mason he became politically involved in trades-union organisations. For much of the 1950s he worked on hydroelectric projects on the Waikato, and until the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956 was a member of the Communist Party. His first published collection, No Ordinary Sun, appeared in 1964 to widespread acclaim and was reprinted ten times during the next thirty years—one of the most widely read individual collections of poems in New Zealand history. From the late 1960s he began a long association with the Otago region when he was awarded the *Burns Fellowship in 1969—and he held it again in of loss and death.

3 In the 1970s Tuwhare became actively involved in Maori cultural and political initiatives. He was an organiser of the first Maori Writers and Artists Conference at Te Kaha in 1973 and participated in the Maori Land March of There were also invitations to Germany and to China, both of which he revisited in the 1980s. When Tuwhare’s poems first began to appear in the late 1950s and early 1960s they were recognised as a new departure in New Zealand poetry, cutting across the debates and divisions between the 1930s and post-war generations. Much of their originality came from the Maori perspective. This was not simply a question of the subject matter of some poems (‘Lament’, a reworking of an older *waiata tangi, ‘Tangi’ and ‘Mauri’), but of their direct lyrical response to landscape and seascape, their vivid evocation of Maori myths and images (‘A burnt offering to your greenstone eyes, Tangaroa’), and their capacity for angry protest at the dispossession of Maori land and culture (‘The mana of my house has fled, / the marae is but a paddock of thistle’). The poems were also marked by their tonal variety, the naturalness with which they could move between formal and informal registers, between humour and pathos, intimacy and controlled anger (as in the anti-nuclear theme of the title-poem of the first volume, ‘No Ordinary Sun’) and, especially, in their assumption of easy vernacular familiarity with New Zealand readers.

4 In one of his best known poems, ‘To a Maori figure cast in bronze outside the Chief Post Office, Auckland’, the same elements were deployed in a dramatic monologue, remarkably rich in its edged allusions to the political, economic and class contexts of race relations in New Zealand, and in its imaginative play with formal and colloquial English and Maori idioms, and with the cultural meanings carried by particularities of location in urban and suburban Auckland. The assumption of a familiar context shared unselfconsciously with his New Zealand readership is crucial to the effect of this poem (as in all Tuwhare’s mature work); because of the density of local allusion and idiom almost every line would require annotation for overseas readers. Tuwhare’s later poetry continued to expand the range and subtlety of his distinctive style. Tuwhare’s work resists identification in terms of any separatist notion of ‘Maoriness’. Increasingly, especially at the level of language, his poetry represents (and often playfully invents) moments and scenes of (multi)cultural exchange and interaction, suggesting a local world of shifting, multiple identities and identifications. His affiliations to the language and aspirations of ordinary working-class New Zealanders have remained strong, however, and his major, recurrent concerns—emergent through the extraordinary cultural diversity of the poems’ occasions, the richness of their sense of location, and their highly inventive use of New Zealand idiom.

5 The opening words of his well-known poem ‘To a Maori figure cast in bronze outside the Chief Post Office, Auckland’ (1972)—must have reverberated as a powerful warning, reminding her in no uncertain terms that like his ‘Maori figure’, Hone did not wish to be put on a pedestal as a larger-than-life monument, but sought a representation that allowed him to keep his ‘guts’, that re-presented his very physical and ‘real’ presence.To a Maori figure cast in bronze outside the Chief Post Office, AucklandHone Like many Maori of his generation, Tuwhare grew up the hard way, surrounded by poverty and a Pakeha ideology of assimilation that forced Maori to renounce their own cultural identity. Motherless from the age of five, he lived with his father in ever- changing circumstances as the country slid into a depression. Schooling was irregular, but thanks to a keen interest in reading Tuwhare graduated from primary school as top of the class in English. However, as there was no money for further education, Tuwhare had to leave school and learn a trade, instead. He became a boilermaker—a profession that kept him in bread and butter for most of his life.Tuwhare with their mini-piupiu -ed bums twinkling: yeah! Somebody give me a drink: I can’t stand it

6 Though in his early years Tuwhare was surrounded by te reo Maori, he was soon discouraged from speaking the language, because his father Ben—like so many others at the time—‘believed that English was the language of the future for his son’ (28)Tuwhare Having freed himself from these constraints, Tuwhare set out to find and refine his own poetic voice. Hunt guides the reader through the major events, both real- life and literary, in the remarkable journey of this emerging Maori poet.TuwhareHunt

7 TAYLOR, Apirana (1955– ), of Te Whanau-a- Apanui, Ngati Porou and Taranaki descent, has published three collections of poetry, two collections of short stories and a novel. He also writes for children and for the theatre, acts, teaches drama and is a member of the Maori theatre group Te Ohu Whakaari. Taylor’s first collection of poetry, Eyes of the Ruru (1972), established him as a powerful voice among Maori writers. Although the collection is uneven in places, with few of its poems approaching the poignant intensity of Tu—a casualty of colonialism and Maori urban drift—reciting his *whakapapa in ‘Sad Joke on a Marae’, Peter *Simpson notes that its ‘raw, powerful and angry poems’ present ‘a Maori voice utterly different from the lyricism and gentle ironies of Hone *Tuwhare’ (Evening Post, 14 Feb. 1997).Hone *Tuwhare It was Taylor’s prose that firmly established him as a literary presence. Written in predominantly realist modes that Lawrence *Jones finds especially in the natural, uncondescending adoption of a working-class perspective, in the vivid but understated naturalistic detail, and in the straightforward moralism’ (Evening Post, 28 Sep. 1990). Taylor explores the issues, where Duff tends to be more descriptive, by using his characters as emblems of the complex groupings within such a society. He also aims for a more balanced perspective on bicultural issues by developing a rather formalised dialogue between Pakeha and Maori.

8 In answer to the question, "Where did the desire to write come from?" Apirana said, "There are a lot of writers in my family. My father and his brother were both journalists. There were storytellers on both the Maori and the pakeha sides of my family. I remember when I was a little boy before I went to school I wanted to be a writer like Dad. My older sister, Riwia Brown, wrote the film script for Once were warriors and has written several plays, and so has my younger sister. I think it's in the blood." Whereas other children loved art lessons but groaned at the prospect of having to write a story, he would be elated when it was story-writing time. He found it a real release to use his imagination and write. Although he did not enjoy school he chose subjects in which his skill at writing and presenting a viewpoint could give him a reasonable result, so after he passed his University Entrance he was encouraged to go to University. He went there with little knowledge of what was expected and no clear motivation. He was enrolled to major in English and Maori, but he found that it was not the place for him. He left Massey University and went out in search of truth. With his pack and his notebook to record his writings he walked to Cape Reinga at the tip of the North Island where the Maori spirits depart. He thought that poets were supposed to be down-and- out, so he came back and experienced the life of a homeless down-and-out in Wellington. He found that sort of life miserable in the cold of winter. He enrolled in a journalism course, but when there were assignments to be done he felt he had to give preference to his poetry writing, and left the course. Since then he has done any sort of job to support himself while writing.


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