From Galileo to Aldo Moro
Italian Imagery in Contemporary New Zealand Literature
Italian images and symbols are numerous in contemporary New Zealand literature. A basic distinction must however be drawn between Pākehā writers, that is, New Zealanders of European origin, and writers belonging to the indigenous minority: the Māori. Italy has aroused a different emotional response and its imagery has served (or not) a political purpose according to the author’s affiliation to the group of the colonizers or that of the colonised. In this article I will analyse how Italian images are employed by two living Māori writers, Witi Ihimaera and Patricia Grace, and by a Pākehā poet, Allen Curnow, passed away in 2001. In particular, I will focus on whether these images pertain to a common system of values and on the extent to which they are functional to the dominant discourse or constitute a means of subversion of it.