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Public Lecture: Ancient Greece (& Rome) in Māori Literature

Public Lecture: Ancient Greece (& Rome) in Māori Literature

Sorry this event has been and gone


  • Wed 6 Nov ’19, 5:30pm – 7:30pm


UC Arts Recital Room at the Arts Centre, 3 Hereford St, Christchurch


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • General Admission: $0.00

Presented by: Department of Classics

Dr. Simon Perris, Associate Professor at Victoria University of Wellington, presenting the Graham Zanker Lecture for 2019:

"Tangata Whenua, Tangata Kariki: Ancient Greece (& Rome) in Māori Literature"

The Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities will be open for this from 5:30pm, the talk will begin at 6:00pm. Please register for this event, numbers are limited.

Scholars tend to pay little or no attention to classical influences on Māori writers. New Zealand has not typically been seen as an important centre for classical traditions (though the needle is moving). At the same time, Pākehā cultural legacies (including Classics) are usually thought to be incommensurate with, if not downright hostile to, Māori literature. It may be surprising, then, that one finds classical motifs in works by a wide range of canonical Māori authors, including Witi Ihimaera, Patricia Grace, and even Apirana Ngata. In this lecture, I will survey the broad shape of Māori writers’ interactions with Classics and talk about a few key examples which illustrate how these interactions might expand our understanding both of classical influences in modern culture, and of New Zealand literature.

Dr Simon Perris is an Associate Professor of Classics at Victoria University of Wellington. His research concentrates on Greek tragedy, especially Euripides; and on classical influences in modern literature, especially in Aotearoa New Zealand. He is the author of A Gentle, Jealous God: Reading Euripides’ Bacchae in English (Bloomsbury 2016) and a co-editor of Athens to Aotearoa: Greece and Rome in New Zealand Literature and Society (Victoria University Press, 2017). He is currently writing the first ever study of classical influences on Māori literature.

Image: ‘Ko wai koe’ by Marian Maguire. Image under copyright. Reproduced here with permission of artist.

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Naomi van den Broek
UC Arts City Location Manager


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