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The Dragon And the Taniwha

The Dragon And the Taniwha

Do Māori resent Chinese immigrants? Do Chinese New Zealanders understand the role of the tangata whenua? Have Māori and Chinese formed alliances based on common values and history?

These and other important issues are examined in The Dragon & the Taniwha (Auckland University Press), a new book by Manying Ip, Associate Professor of Asian Studies at The University of Auckland.

The book, the result of a major grant from the Marsden Fund, looks for the first time at how two very different marginalised groups in New Zealand society have interacted over the last 150 years and explores the relationship between the tangata whenua and the country’s earliest and largest non-European immigrant group.

The book’s 12 contributors include such prominent scholars as Margaret Mutu, Richard Bedford, David Pearson, Robert Didham, Nigel Murphy and Mark Williams. They analyse from many different angles a wide range of issues: how Māori newspapers portray Chinese and how Chinese media portray Māori; the changing demography of the Chinese and Maori populations; Maori Chinese marriages and the ancient migration of both groups. The result is a rich portrait of the past and present relationships between two major immigrant groups.

Associate Professor Ip says race relations in New Zealand have usually been examined in terms of Māori and Pākehā. By looking at Māori–Chinese relations, she believes The Dragon & the Taniwha portrays a much richer and more complex social fabric than seen in traditional interpretations.

“While Māori and Chinese were close allies in times of adversity – for example when both communities were relegated to the fringe of 'respectable society' – relationships have become more strained since the influx of new Asian migrants. The role of the dominant Pākehā community cannot be ignored in the relationship between Māori and Chinese because the framework for ethnic interactions has realῬy been set by Pikeh. This book offers a more nuanced understanding of New Zealand race relations, says Associate Professor Ip.

Former Governor-General of New Zealand Sir Paul Reeves will launch The Dragon & the Taniwha at 6.30–8pm on Monday 27 April at The University of Auckland’s Whare Kai, Waipapa Marae (Wynyard Street).

Associate Professor Manying Ip is the well-known and respected author of several critically acclaimed books on the Chinese in New Zealand, including Being Māori–Chinese: Mixed Identities (AUP, 2008), and was the editor of Unfolding History, Evolving Identity: The Chinese in New Zealand (AUP, 2003). She is available to both the Chinese and English language media to speak about The Dragon and the Taniwha.

Ends

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