Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Cultural Transition and Discrepancies
Epeli Hau'ofa's Kisses in the Nederends contains themes that parallel those of similar post-colonial works. Potiki and Kisses both utilize the Maori tribes of New Zealand to depict the inevitability of cultural alteration as a direct result of colonialism. Virtually every novel discussed thus far conveys themes of cultural transition facilitated through the actions of characters based on historical colonial figures. Their influence on the various native cultures is always dynamic in nature and frequently prompts an alteration of cultural values and practices. Although the Maoris discussed in both works demonstrate the changing influence of white colonial characters, their inherent cultural values remain vastly different. This is most clearly exemplified through the Maori's conceptualization of nature. Maori culture and religion holds nature in high esteem and reverence. The tribal characters redundantly describe their sense of connectedness to nature. They regard death as not malicious and worthy of fear, but rather as just another step in life's sacred process. Numerous discrepancies exist between the white and Maori outlooks respectively. Potiki's white characters are referred to as "Dollarmen"due to the lack of reverence they demonstrate towards nature and their desire to exploit the land as a means of generating profits. The correlation most evident between these two works is the Maori's reverence towards nature. Unlike other aspects of native culture relinquished to colonial figures, their relationship with nature is too profound to be altered by colonial influence.