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Book Announcement


Toon van Meijl <[log in to unmask]>


Toon van Meijl <[log in to unmask]>


Thu, 11 Oct 2007 08:33:17 +0200





text/plain (1 lines)

Martens, Emiel. 2007. Once Were Warriors - The Aftermath: The Controversy of
Once Were Warriors in Aotearoa New Zealand. Amsterdam: Aksant. 184 pages. ISBN:

"In 1990 unknown Maori author Alan Duff suddenly became both famous and
notorious in New Zealand for his first novel Once Were Warriors. The violent
story of a poor urban Maori family aroused much controversy in New Zealand
society, and the Maori community in particular. Many Maori commentators
condemned the novel for its negative and allegedly racist portrayal of the
indigenous Maori people, accusing Duff for 'hanging out the dirty linen' and
'blaming the victim'. Four years later, the homonymous film by Maori director
Lee Tamahori led to similar fame and controversy. On the one hand, critics
strongly disapproved of the commercial indigenous film on social, political and
aesthetic grounds. On the other hand however, Once Were Warriors became the most
successful motion picture in the history of New Zealand cinema, grossing over
6.7 million NZ dollars in the national box office and reaching a large
international audience. Once Were Warriors was not just a novel or film, but a
powerful cultural representation which had a significant impact on New Zealand

In this richly illustrated book Emiel Martens examines the impact of Once Were
Warriors in Aotearoa New Zealand by exploring the two cultural representations
(with a specific emphasis on the film) and their aftermath in postcolonial New
Zealand society: Why did Once Were Warriors cause such a controversy within the
Maori community? Which were the underlying metaphors of the public debate on
both the novel and the film in New Zealand society? And what did the heated
reception of Once Were Warriors say about the position and identity of the
indigenous Maori people within modern New Zealand? Bringing together a wide
variety of popular and academic texts, the author discusses these urgent
questions in relation to timely New Zealand and wider postcolonial issues such
as racial stereotypes, cultural politics, ethnic relations, indigenous media and
Maori identity. As an interdisciplinary Cultural Studies endeavour, this book is
surprisingly accessible and will prove interesting reading for anyone who wishes
to know more about cultural identity, postcolonial representation and indigenous
filmmaking in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Emiel Martens is a Lecturer in Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam."

Aksant Academic Publishers, the Department of Media Studies of the University of
Amsterdam and SPUI25 organize the book launch of Once Were Warriors: The
Aftermath. The controversy of OWW in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Introductions will be held by well-known Maori novelist Witi Ihimaera (The Whale
Rider), cultural anthropologist Toon van Meijl (Centre for Pacific and Asian
Studies) and author Emiel Martens. The introductions will be followed by the
screening of the film Once Were Warriors. Afterwards there will be an informal

The book presentation takes place Thursday October 18th in SPUI25, Spui 25, 1012
WX Amsterdam. See also Attending the book presentation and film
viewing is free of charge. However, as the capacity of SPUI25 is limited, we
kindly request you to register in advance via [log in to unmask]

Note for press: Review-copies can be obtained at: Aksant Academic Publishers,
Cruquiusweg 31, 1019 AT Amsterdam, tel. (020) 850 01 51, fax (020) 665 64 11, of
e-mail: [log in to unmask]

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