Pacific Literature in English

Please note: this is archived course information from 2020 for ENGLISH 204.


The course considers recent Pacific literature written in English by authors whose work is characterised by multiple crossings of cultural, political, gendered and geographical borders—crossings particularly acute for writers who are connected in some way by genealogical and ancestral ties to Māori and Pacific communities, but write from other places.

To this end, students will consider the following questions:

  1. What are the distinct features of Pacific literature in New Zealand and other regions of the Pacific?
  2. In what ways does this literature reflect and expand wider global trends in diasporic writing?
  3. How and why have writers reframed their Pacific identities?
  4. How and why do they negotiate social and cultural tensions within and between their own communities?
  5. How and why have writers reflected, challenged and redefined stereotypes about their own communities?

Students will learn how to contextualise and critique Pacific creative writing and performance.

There are three genres covered in this course: Poetry, Young Adult Fiction and Short Story. Six texts are required for this course and study of all genres is required to fulfil assessment criteria.

Availability 2020

Semester 2


Coordinator(s) Dr Selina Tusitala Marsh



Mauri Ola: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English; Mauri Ola II. (Eds, Albert Wendt, Reina Whaitiri, Robert Sullivan) Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2010. Also available online via Library:


Young Adult Fiction:

Trilogy by Lani Wendt Young:

The Covenant Keeper,  L. Wendt Young, 2011.


When Water Burns,  L. Wendt Young, 2012.


The Bone Bearer, Lani Wendt Young. Kale Press, 2013.


 Short Stories:

Black Marks on the White Page. (Ed. Witi Ihimaera and Tina Makereti) Penguin Random House, 2017.

Niu Voices. (Ed. Selina Tusitala Marsh) Wellington, NZ: Huia, 2006, available online via library at:




ENGLISH 204: 15 points


30 points at Stage I in English, or 15 points at Stage I in English and PACIFIC 100