Chloe Fergusson-Tibble Recommends Māori Literature
This Week on the Reading Women Podcast
From the episode:
Chloe: I think that reading books by Pacific authors this month and every month is really important. There are so many times where our literature is overlooked in favor of lots of Western and white literature. Sometimes that’s really problematic because it’s essentially leaving shelves out. And I think that a good reader is one that goes into books understanding what the people in those books have faced. That’s kind of the second point that I want to make, is that when we go into a white book or a book by white authors, we go in with the understanding that we’re going to understand all the nuances and we’re going to understand people’s positions and why they make decisions that they do. And that’s because that culture is the dominant culture.
However, when we go into Pacific literature—I mean, I can talk about Māori literature—sometimes we go into it, and there’s some topics in there that are really, really harsh. And it makes people sort of sit back and go, oh, they’re scary. Or they’re this. Or they’re bad people. And I think as readers, we have to be critical of ourselves and of the position that we bring to the books we’re about to read. In particular, what I mean is to know the history of the people that you’re reading about. In Aotearoa, my people have faced years of colonization since the 1800s. And that has an impact on the types of outcomes that we’re seeing right now in terms of health, in terms of disconnection, in terms of violence, in terms of incarceration, in terms of all of those things. And what I would urge people to do this month is to step back and think about why these things are occurring and to put them into that historical context.
Chloe Fergusson-Tibble is an indigenous book lover from New Zealand. Her tribal affiliations connect her to some of the most beautiful parts of New Zealand. She is a wife, mother, whānau lover, and a medical student currently studying to become a doctor.