19 Apr 2017

New book aims to get Pacific voices in mainstream

3:08 pm on 19 April 2017

A new book has been launched in New Zealand highlighting some of the most insightful commentary on Pacific life in New Zealand over the past two years.

The Best of e-Tangata

The Best of e-Tangata Photo: RNZ/ Sara Vui-Talitu

The book is a collection of best work initially published on the digital magazine website, e-Tangata .

As well as Pacific writing, it includes contributions from Maori and Pakeha writers on everything from politics to social issues and popular culture.

Co-editor and journalist Tapu Misa said their aim was to get mainstream New Zealanders accessing more Pacific writers and voices, and so publishing this book, titled The Best of e-Tangata was just one way to do that.

"We'd just like to do more," Ms Misa said.

Tapu Misa

Tapu Misa Photo: RNZ/ Sara Vui-Talitu

"We'd like to find and develop more talent and mentor more talent.

"We'd like to have our writers, our people, on mainstream platforms actually and that, I think, is where we need to go. We can't just keep having conversations amongst ourselves."

As for the future of e-Tagata, Tapu Misa believes it is bright as readers all over the world engage with their content because the statures are uniquely about life in Aotearoa New Zealand as well as a new way of thinking around identity and cultural issues.

"The intention for us has always been to have those cross-cultural conversations that you can't have if you are not on the kinds of platforms that are mainstream where other New Zealanders can pick it up."

"We have this great story from Kennedy Warne who is Pakeha, who talks about having the "cultural sleep wiped from his eyes", which is a great term. It is his cultural epiphany when he realises there is a new way of looking at things when he has an encounter with this Nga-Puhi elder."

However Ms Misa is always on the look out for more Pacific writers, including from the region and beyond.

"We want people who have new innovative ways of thinking and there is a clarity to the writing," she said. "You can write from anywhere. I am interested in all sorts of voices, Maori and Pacific, from wherever in the world they might be. If this is going out to Pacific people around the world we would welcome their voice."