Author: Kennedy Warne

No stone without a name

“Aboriginal people, if they appear at all in the landscape, are presented as ornamental figures, framing devices, exotic touches. Only rarely is their humanity expressed . . . Mostly they are simply absent.” — Kennedy Warne on the erasure of Aboriginal people in colonial art.

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‘Oceania is us’

“In his writing and teaching, Epeli Hau’ofa rejected the portrayal of the Pacific as weak, disconnected and dependent on outside help for survival — a soul-sapping belittlement that the Pacific has endured for centuries.” — Kennedy Warne.

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Tikanga and the audacity of enlightenment

“Perhaps the audacity lies in the assumption that an entire system of values, principles and laws that grew up uniquely in these islands should remain on the margins of the country’s legal system.” — Kennedy Warne responding to criticism of the Supreme Court’s recognition of tikanga in its Peter Ellis decision.

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Weaving a tribal story

“The bylines of some entries are so unique, so remarkable, as to make you marvel that such a person could exist — and then to wonder why it has taken until now for their stories to become known to the wider public.” — Kennedy Warne on ‘Tāngata Ngāi Tahu’.

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Bloodways of Papatūānuku

“Wai Pasifika is not just an examination of how to manage the substance that is essential to life on earth — but which blinkered materialists think of as a ‘resource’. It is also an approach to how to be in relationship with water.” — Kennedy Warne.

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Entangled with the land

“These places are not passive backdrops to human action — they are agents, participants, characters in the dramas that unfold across their volcanic surfaces.” — Kennedy Warne reviews ‘Shifting Grounds’ by Lucy Mackintosh.

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Being present to the past

“Once arrogantly dismissed as journeys of luck — the aimless drifting of incompetent mariners — these voyages are now rightly adulated as ‘among the greatest acts of voyage and discovery in world history.’” — Kennedy Warne on ‘Polynesia:900–1600’ by Madi Williams.

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Molecules and mātauranga

“Instead of Pākehā academics questioning the validity of mātauranga Māori, they ought to take note of how Indigenous researchers with a background in both science and mātauranga Māori conduct their research in a way that’s innovative and entrepreneurial.” — Dr Jonni Koia, molecular biologist.

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A maker of stories

“Each night, there will be a sentence or a paragraph that moves me, sometimes causing tears to flow. It happens whenever I read Patricia Grace.” — Kennedy Warne on one of the country’s most beloved writers.

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The legal force of tikanga

“Does it seem strange to be reading a court decision and discover that you’re hearing a dissertation on Māori worldview? It is becoming the norm.” — Kennedy Warne on the landmark High Court decision recognising the customary marine rights of Whakatōhea.

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Face up to tikanga: Court of Appeal to EPA

“If it seems surprising for a New Zealand court to provide a lesson in the Māori worldview as part of a decision about a proposal to mine the seabed, then it is equally surprising to hear the court lecture decision-makers on their failure to engage meaningfully with that worldview.” — Kennedy Warne.

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Hearing the ocean speak

“We have come here to speak about protection of the ocean. We come in the planet’s most uncertain hours to sing a redemptive tune. And what is it we are protecting the ocean against? Regrettably, us.”

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Hemi at Hiruhārama

James K Baxter’s Jerusalem Daybook “had woken something, disrupted something, in my placid Pākehā existence. Like the water tank in Baxter’s story, bullet holes were appearing in the walls of assumption and belief.” — Kennedy Warne.

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The singing island

“There is no airstrip. To get to Takū, you book a passage on the supply ship — if it’s sailing. Last year, not a single ship visit was made. Cut off from outside supplies, the islanders relied entirely on their traditional food sources: fish, coconut and occasional taro.”

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