Faculty of Arts


Pacific Literature in English

Please note: this is archived course information from 2018 for ENGLISH 204.


Do you know where you are? You are in Aotearoa/New Zealand, in the middle of a vast Pacific ocean boasting thousands of islands, many of which produce writing that reflects rich cultural heritages, diverse ecosystems and a way of seeing the world that is uniquely "Pacific". This course provides an introduction to contemporary Pacific literature (poetry, short fiction, novel) and explores texts from canonical Pacific writers to cutting edge spoken word performance poets. Texts will be examined using a mixture of lenses from postcolonial theory, indigenous literary studies and pacificised feminist frameworks. There is a focus on crossings of cultural and creative borders (both in terms of what we study and how we study it), diaspora and identity. 

Availability 2018

Not offered in 2018; planned for 2019


Coordinator(s) Dr Selina Tusitala Marsh


Poetry Anthologies:

Albert Wendt, Reina Whaitiri, Robert Sullivan, Eds, Mauri Ola: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English  (Auckland: AUP, 2010).

Young Adult Trilogy by Lani Wendt Young:

i. Telesā: The Covenant Keeper
ii. When Water Burns
iii. The Bone Bearer

Short Fiction:

Selina Tusitala Marsh, Ed,  Niu Voices (Wellington, N.Z.: Huia, 2006).

Recommended Reading

Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, Helen Tiffin, Key Concepts in Post-colonial Studies (New York: Routledge, 2001). [e-text available through library]

Michelle Keown, Pacific Islands Writing: The Postcolonial Literatures of Aotearoa/New Zealand and Oceania (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2007). [see Library: Readings and Exams]

Sina Va`ai, Literary Representations in Western Polynesia: Colonialism and Indigeneity (Samoa: National University of Samoa, 1999).


60% Coursework; 40% Exam.


ENGLISH 204: 15.0 points


30 points at Stage I in English, or 15 points at Stage I in English and GENDER 202 or PACIFIC 100, or 30 points in Transnational Cultures and Creative Practice

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