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Major New Pasifika Title Launched

Tangata o le Moana: New Zealand and the People of the Pacific is published by Te Papa Press this month. The lavishly illustrated book features fifteen essays on the history of Pacific people’s interactions with New Zealand and the impact New Zealand has had on its Pacific neighbours.

Edited by Sean Mallon, Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai and Damon Salesa, Tangata o le Moana draws on 50 years of individual and institutional-based research by leading New Zealand scholars. Most importantly, the book is told from uniquely Pacific perspectives – taking the viewpoints of Pacific peoples who have made New Zealand their home.
Sean Mallon, one of the book’s editors and Senior Curator Pacific Cultures at Te Papa, notes that despite Pacific peoples’ long association with New Zealand, their stories are almost non-existent in general historical publications.

‘Tangata o le Moana: New Zealand and the People of the Pacific brings together the social, cultural and economic contributions of the Pacific peoples to New Zealand in one publication for the first time,’ Mallon says.
‘The essays, in some instances, literally draw on a lifetime of research by individual contributors, some of whom were active participants in the events they write about. They present a truly Pacific side to the history of New Zealand.’

From the earliest encounters to the little-known lives of Pacific people in 19th century New Zealand, New Zealand’s colonial aspirations to the lost stories of Pacific people’s contribution to New Zealand’s war effort, this book reveals a surprising, and sometimes fraught, history of Pacific relations.

With hundreds of historical and contemporary photos and archival records and drawing on rich oral histories, the Tangata o le Moana book also explores the emergence of Pacific community organisations, the politically explosive era of the dawn raids, the effect of New Zealand’s contemporary foreign policy on the Pacific, and the rise (and rise) of Pacific individuals in New Zealand politics, sports, and arts.

The book was conceptualised by Mallon and Māhina-Tuai during a four-year research programme for the eponymous exhibition at Te Papa (that opened in 2007). Acknowledging the many excellent individual historical publications, both realised that there was no one book that brought all the threads of Pacific story in New Zealand together. Approaching leading scholars, including fellow editor and historian Damon Salesa they have worked with Te Papa Press to develop a scholarly, accessible and richly illustrated collection of essays.

Tangata o le Moana: New Zealand and the People of the Pacific is the latest Pacific publication by New Zealand’s only dedicated museum publishing house, Te Papa Press. Previous Pacific titles by the Press include Tatau: Samoan tattooing, New Zealand Art, Global Culture (the story of Samoan tattooist, Sulu’ape Paulo III), Pacific Art in Detail and Tivaivai: The Social Fabric of the Cook Islands (both originally published by the British Museum), Pacific Art Niu Sila: The Pacific Dimension of Contemporary New Zealand Arts , Speaking in Colour: Conversations with Artists of Pacific Island Heritage, and Icons from Te Papa: Pacific.

Tangata o le Moana: New Zealand and the Pacific Peoples edited by Sean Mallon, Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai and Damon Salesa is published by Te Papa Press, May 2012. RRP NZ$79.99 ISBN 978-1-877385-72-8 –

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