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Tātai Tara, Genealogical Storying: A Foundation of Decolonisation in Oceania

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posted on 2021-11-14, 13:00 authored by Strathern, Iain Thomas

This thesis reads Patricia Grace's Baby No-eyes, and Albert Wendt's The Adventures of Vela and The Mango's Kiss to highlight the essential nature of tātai tara (genealogical storying) in the decolonisation of Oceanian identity. Central to the thesis is a personal mythology, a kind of memoir that recounts some of the author's foundational stories in the form of prose and poetry. The first core chapter deals with a discussion of post-colonial 'skins', the things that we believe are part of ourselves that essentially come from being socialised in a colonial culture. The chapter “Skeletons”, explores the family secrets that give rise to shame that is intergenerational. Finally, Flesh and Blood demonstrates the powerful nature of reclaiming family stories as a way of re-education and healing. Ultimately, the thesis aims at an understanding of tātai tara, a process that happens whether we are aware of it or not, and how the individual is a creator of his or her own identity through the level of engagement with the stories.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Master of Arts

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970120 Expanding Knowledge in Languages, Communication and Culture

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Masters Dissertation



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies


Stafford, Jane