Ancient Greece in Māori Literature

6 November 2019 - Chemistry

Victoria University of Wellington associate professor Dr Simon Perris presents the Graham Zanker Lecture for 2019: Classics Public Lecture – Tangata Whenua, Tangata Kariki: Ancient Greece (and Rome) in Māori Literature.

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, Dr Perris will survey the broad shape of Māori writers’ interactions with classics and talk about a few key examples that illustrate how these interactions might expand our understanding both of classical influences in modern culture and of New Zealand literature.

The Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities will be open for this event from 5.30pm.

Please register for this event, numbers are limited.

Dr Simon Perris

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 study of classical influences on Māori literature.

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

Date: Wednesday 6 November 2019

Time: 6.00pm to 7.00pm

Venue: Recital Room, University of Canterbury Arts at The Arts Centre, Chemistry building, 3 Hereford Street

Free, but booking is essential

Driving & Parking

The Arts Centre has a limited number of 10 and 30 minute visitor carparks located at Market Square near the corner of Worcester Boulevard and Montreal Street.

Plenty of on-street metered parking is available near the Arts Centre, along with a number of off-street carparks.