Sa Nafanua: Representations of the Samoan goddess of war in the works of two contemporary Samoan writers

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dc.contributor.advisor Marsh, ST en Commins, Johanna en 2016-06-08T23:27:24Z en 2016 en
dc.identifier.citation 2016 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description Full text is available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland only. en
dc.description.abstract Nafanua is the Samoan goddess of war. In recent years she has become a popular emblem of female autonomy and strength in the works of contemporary Pacific creators. This thesis considers her extensive representation in the works of two Samoan writers – Albert Wendt, and his niece, Lani Wendt Young. I ask what relevance these contemporary renderings of Nafanua have for contemporary postcolonial readers – Samoan, non-Samoan, and afakasi? Because Nafanua is a female figure that performs the traditionally male role of the warrior, she raises challenging questions about gender and gender performance. She appears at first diametrically opposed to the prevalent colonial image of Pacific Island women, that of the Dusky Maiden, a beautiful, nubile figure who has historically been read as standing for the Pacific as a whole: warm, welcoming, and desiring of colonial ‘conquest’. This thesis demonstrates that these contemporary representations of Nafanua have a more nuanced relationship with her passive ‘other’ than we might otherwise expect. In exploring this relationship, I utilize feminist and indigenous critical thinking to consider other figures including the Samoan fa’afafine and the Western femme fatal. In arguing that stereotypes such as the Dusky Maiden are at best reductionist and at worse destructive, I suggest archetypes as an alternative framework through which to view Nafanua. Adopting Western psychoanalytical and Samoan indigenous frames of reference, I consider the ways in, and the extent to, which Nafanua embodies the Great Mother and Warrior archetypes in these works. Archetypes are essentially paradoxical and undermine the binary oppositions around which stereotypes are organized. This thesis argues that Nafanua operates as the sacred vessel, the indigenous archetype, to breach these oppositions in order to bridge the va – the space between things – between ancestors and descendents, pouliuli and malamalama, masculine and feminine, indigenous and Western knowledge systems. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof Masters Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99264891912302091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights Restricted Item. Available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland. en
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dc.title Sa Nafanua: Representations of the Samoan goddess of war in the works of two contemporary Samoan writers en
dc.type Thesis en English en The University of Auckland en Masters en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The Author en
pubs.elements-id 530234 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2016-06-09 en
dc.identifier.wikidata Q112923779

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