Encounters: The Creation of New Zealand
Paul Moon's genre-busting history of New Zealand's ever-changing character - a heady exploration through Maori myths, early settlement, the All Blacks, the Speight's 'Southern Man', art and the New Zealand landscape
'Throughout its human history, New Zealand has been interpreted and experienced in often radically different ways. Each wave of arrivals to its shores has left its own set of views of New Zealand on the country – applying a new coat of mythology and understanding to the landscape, usually without fully removing the one that lies beneath it.'
Encounters is the wide-ranging, audacious and gripping story of New Zealand's changing national identity, how it has emerged and evolved through generations.
In this genre-busting book, historian Paul Moon delves into how the many and conflicting ideas about New Zealand came into being. Along the way, he explores forgotten crevices of the nation's character, and exposes some of the mythology of its past and present.
These include, for example, the earliest Maori myths and the 'mock sacredness' of the All Blacks in the twenty-first century; the role of nostalgia in our national character, both Maori and Pakeha; whether the explorer Kupe existed; the appeal of the Speight's 'Southern Man'; and ruminations on New Zealand art and landscape.
What results is an absorbing piece of scholarship, an imaginative and exuberant epic that will challenge preconceptions about what it means to be a New Zealander, and how our country is understood.
Lyrical, breathtaking and provocative, and illustrated with artworks throughout, Encounters offers an extraordinary insight into the beginnings of our country.