‘Any dead bodies we can exhume?’ Story-Blood and the Politics of Cultural Appropriation in Paula Morris’s Queen of Beauty, Hibiscus Coast, and ‘Rangatira’

Ann Katherine Pistacchi


Taking into account the complicated history surrounding issues of indigenous oral-story appropriation, this paper examines the ways in which appropriation disputes in Aotearoa/New Zealand are played out within Paula Morris’s fictional narratives. Adopting as its base assumption social anthropologist Arnd Schneider’s definition of ‘cultural appropriation’ as ‘taking – from a culture that is not one’s own’ (2003:218), and Jonathan Hart’s belief that cultural appropriation ‘occurs when a member of one culture takes a cultural practice or theory of a member of another culture as if it were his or her own right’ (1997:138), this study uncovers the ways in which Morris’s Maori characters identify and challenge, and at the same time are often complicit with, instances of Pakeha appropriation of indigenous stories, lands, and cultural artifacts.


Paula Morris, cultural appropriation, Maori Literature, New Zealand Literature

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11157/sites-vol5iss1id85