Looking to belong : the adaptation of Pacific Island migrants to New Zealand as depicted in selected works by Oscar Kightley, John Pule, and Albert Wendt : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in English at Massey University
In Oscar Kightley's A Frigate Bird Sings, Dawn Raids and Fresh Off the Boat, John Pule's Burn My Head in Heaven and The Shark the Ate the Sun, and Albert Wendt's Sons for the Return Home, Ola and Black Rainbow, the main characters have in common the fact that they are all part of a Pacific diaspora, and they have all dispersed to the same country -- New Zealand. They have left lands that have had a colonial history to come to a land with a colonial history of its own, and one that has involved the permanent settlement of non-indigenous settlers who far outnumber the descendants of the original inhabitants. The new Pacific Island migrants thus face the prospect of being both coloniser and colonised. What is examined here is which, if either, of these two possible roles the characters see themselves as playing, or if they rather take the opportunity to reinvent themselves. What is concluded is that though the change of place does seem to offer the chance of breaking from the conventions and attitudes of the homelands, and from colonial stereotypes relating to sexuality, gender and race, the authors do not offer either a consistent view of the nature of the responses to the chance thus offered, or any unanimity with regard to the essential question of whether the migrants relate more strongly to the host cultures or the culture they have left behind, or whether they find a new space for themselves -- one that presents the possibility of breaking completely from the 'othering' pressures of the colonial past.