A va'ine approach to creative writing : the tīvaevae framework and the calabash breaker : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters in Creative Writing at Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand. EMBARGOED until 27 July 2024.
This thesis explores an approach to creative writing embedded with an indigenous cultural framework from the Cook Islands. The tīvaevae framework, based around the process of constructing Cook Islands tīvaevae quilts, shapes both the critical and creative components of the thesis. The critical component explains how the tīvaevae framework is utilised and includes a discussion of an archetype called the calabash breaker, named after the poem of the same name by Selina Tusitala Marsh. The calabash breaker appears in different guises in both traditional and contemporary Moana narratives and can be recognised by her strong links to family, community and place, combined with tendency to rebel against the social conventions of her community. Typically, her insubordinate nature drives the narrative towards her ultimate act of disruption while also providing a method of social critique. Characters who share the traits of the calabash breaker are explored through a close reading of Witi Ihimaera’s novel Whale Rider (1987) and Sia Figiel’s novel The Girl in the Moon Circle (1996). In the creative component, a middle grade novel titled The Mōmoke’s Daughter, a Rarotongan girl named Kimiora from Porirua discovers she is the daughter of a mōmoke, a figure from Rarotongan cultural narratives. The novel uses the calabash breaker, expressed through the character of Kimiora, to explore Cook Islands ideas about identity, family, belonging, place and the role of mana tiaki (kaitiaki) of ocean environments.--Shortened abstract