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HuihuiNavigating Art and Literature in the Pacific$
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Jeffrey Carroll, Brandy Nalani McDougall, and Georganne Nordstrom

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838959

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838959.001.0001

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Nau mai, hoki mai

Nau mai, hoki mai

Approaching the Ancestral House

Chapter:
(p.71) Chapter Six Nau mai, hoki mai
Source:
Huihui
Author(s):

Alice Te Punga Somerville

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824838959.003.0007

This chapter explores a number of Māori poems in which individuals come home onto their own marae. Through analyses of Apirana Taylor’s “Sad Joke on a Marae,” Vernice Wineera’s “Toa Rangatira” and “Tangi,” and Kāterina Mataira’s “Restoring the Ancestral House,” the chapter shows that wharenui are ancestors, carvings are ancestors, and ancestors are ever-present. It argues that homecoming is an act of return—nau mai, hoki mai—and that the poems all foreground the act of creative production through the materiality of the carvings. It also suggests that, for all of the speakers in the poems, the approach to the ancestral house is tinged—even shaped—by the complex structures of proximity to and distance from the ancestral space and, ultimately, the ancestral.

Keywords:   homecoming, Māori poems, marae, Apirana Taylor, Vernice Wineera, Kāterina Mataira, wharenui, ancestors, carvings, ancestral house

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