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SWAPACA Maori .pdf


Original filename: SWAPACA_Maori.pdf
Author: Michelle Nicole Boyer

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Michelle  Nicole  Boyer-­‐Kelly  
University  of  Arizona  
American  Indian  Studies  Ph.D.  Program  

—  We  must  depart  from  a  colonized  cannon  that  

supposes  history  is  written  –for  the  Maori,  history  is  
living,  breathing,  and  is  passed  from  generation  to  
generation.  
—  There  are  multiple  forms  of  storytelling,  including:  
—  Creation  stories  
—  Adventures  of  the  gods  
—  Universal  stories    
—  Iwi-­‐specific  stories  
—  And,  of  course,  there  are  stories  that  weave  in  and  out  

of  more  than  one  category  

—  Storytelling  was  used  for  far  more  than  

“entertainment”  purposes  –  teaching  was  one  of  the  
main  focuses  of  stories  
—  As  explained  in  The  Dead  Lands,  stories  are  circular  
—  Contemporary  Maori  authors  often  support  the  
significance  of  story  within  their  texts  by  inserting  
oral  tradition  
—  Using  a  narrative  pattern  that  creates  orality  
—  Elders  inserting  oral  information  
—  “mystical  realism”  

—  Released  in  2014  

—  Premier  was  held  in  Toronto  

—  Limited  release    

—  Main  US  release  was  done  on  Netflix  for  a  limited  time  
—  Otherwise,  to  purchase  the  film  there  is  Amazon  or  

iTunes  

—  Dir.  by  Toa  Fraser  (British-­‐born)  
—  Entire  film  is  in  Maori  (subtitled  in  English)  
—  Cast  is  made  up  entirely  of  Maori  individuals  
—  Features:  

—  mau  rakau  –  Maori  armed  martial  arts  
—  Maori    

—  Joseph  Campbell  discusses  that  the  most  popular  hero  

quest  is  a  cycle  in  which  the  hero  is  presented  as  a  
warrior  (esp.  when  it  comes  to  film)  
—  In  Campbell’s  cycle,  the  hero  is  exiled  from  his  
homeland  in  order  to  prove  himself  as  an  adult  
—  In  the  Maori  quest  cycle,  the  hero  is  often  a  warrior  
(as  per  cultural  expectations)  that  must  prove  himself  
to  honor  his  father  
—  In  The  Dead  Lands,  these  two  cycles  are  blended  into  
a  unique  story  for  a  mixed  audience  

—  Hongi  (L)  is  a  “boy”  during  the  opening  sequences  of  the  

film  –  presented  both  visually  and  through  the  expressed  
statements  of  others  
—  After  his  father  (R)  and  most  of  his  tribe  is  slaughtered,  
Hongi  is  exiled  –  part  of  this  exile  means  that  Hongi  must  
go  after  the  “villain”  and  exact  revenge  


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