Being Maori-Chinese: Mixed Identities

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Oceania on 2015-04-24 20:23Z by Steven

Being Maori-Chinese: Mixed Identities

Auckland University Press
January 2008
238 pages
210 x 148 mm
Paperback ISBN: 9781869403997

Manying Ip, Professor of Asian Studies
University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Being Maori-Chinese uses extensive interviews with seven different families to explore historical and contemporary relations between Māori and Chinese, a subject which has never been given serious study before. A full chapter is given to each family which is explored in depth often in the voices of the protagonists themselves.

This detailed and personal approach shows how in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Māori and Chinese, both relegated to the fringes of society, often had warm and congenial bonds, with intermarriage and large Māori-Chinese families. However in recent times the relationship between these two rapidly growing groups has shown tension as Māori have gained confidence in their identity and as increased Asian immigration has become a political issue. Being Maori-Chinese provides a unique and fascinating insight into cross-cultural alliances between Asian and indigenous peoples, revealing a resilience which has endured persecution, ridicule and neglect and offering a picture of New Zealand society which challenges the usual Pākehā-dominated perspective.

Today’s Māori-Chinese, especially younger members, are increasingly reaffirming their multiple roots and, with a growing confidence in the cultural advantages they possess, are playing important roles in New Zealand society.

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Q&A With Researchers: Associate Professor Manying Ip

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Oceania, Women on 2010-01-11 20:48Z by Steven

Q&A With Researchers: Associate Professor Manying Ip

asia:nz online
Asia New Zealand Foundation

Associate Professor Manying Ip
Asia:NZ Trustee; Associate Professor of Chinese, School of Asian Studies, University of Auckland

Manying Ip came to New Zealand in 1974 from Hong Kong where her family lived for five generations. With her strong classical Chinese education at home and colonial English education at shool, she grew up sharply aware of the challenges of being cross-cultural.

Her interest in Maori-Chinese interactions started from the mid 1980s when she conducted extensive qualitative interviews among the pioneering Chinese families, which grew ever stronger with the immigration and ethnic identity debates

Manying is Associate Professor in Asian Studies at The University of Auckland and the author of several critically acclaimed books on Chinese in New Zealand. These include: Aliens At My Table: Asians as New Zealanders See Them (Penguin, 2005), Unfolding Identity, Evolving Identity: The Chinese in New Zealand (Auckland University Press, 2003) as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters on issues pertaining to recent Asian immigrants. Dr Ip’s most recent book Being Maori-Chinese: Mixed Identities (Auckland University Press, 2008) uses extensive interviews with seven different families of mixed Chinese-Maori descent to explore both historical and contemporary relations between Maori and Chinese, a subject which has not been given serious extended study before. Her edited volume The Dragon and The Taniwha: Maori and Chinese in New Zealand will be published in April 2009, investigating the complex social fabric of New Zealand and offering a nuanced study of ancient and contemporary shared identities amongst two significant ethnic minority groups.

Dr Ip is a respected advocate for Chinese communities living in New Zealand. She was awarded a Suffrage Centennial Medal in 1993 and was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1996.  In 2004 she co-directed New Faces Old Fears, a television documentary exploring racism, multiculturalism and social cohesion in New Zealand. In late 2008, she was elected a Fellow of the New Zealand Academy of Humanities (FNZAH) in recognition of her distinction in research and the advancement of the humanities.

1. Your most recent publication Being Maori–Chinese: Mixed Identities explores the historical and contemporary significance of the relationship between Maori and Chinese New Zealanders.  How did you become interested in this topic and what were some of the most interesting findings?

Ever since I started conducting oral interviews on the early days of Chinese New Zealanders, I heard my interviewees mentioning their relationship with Maori people: as co-workers in the market gardens, as neighbours  and workmates. Quite often they mentioned the existence of mixed Maori-Chinese families because early Chinese men came to New Zealand as bachelors and many of them formed relationships with Maori women…

Read the entire interview here.

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Being Māori-Chinese: Mixed Identities (Book Review)

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Oceania, Social Science on 2010-01-11 19:19Z by Steven

Being Māori-Chinese: Mixed Identities (Book Review)

Sites: a journal of social anthropology and cultural studies
University of Otago, New Zealand
Volume 5, Number 2 (2008)
pages 180-182

Kate Bagnall

Being Māori-Chinese: Mixed Identities, Manying Ip, Auckland University Press, Auckland, 2008, 255pp. ISBN 978-1-86940-399-7

Manying Ip makes it clear from the outset that Being Māori-Chinese: Mixed Identities is a very personal book. It begins with an explanation of her own inspiration for the project – the emergence of tantalising snippets about Māori-Chinese families that kept popping up in her wider research on New Zealand Chinese – and her own process of locating subjects and conducting interviews. Ip tells of being warned by a ‘well-meaning elder’ from Te Wānangao-Raukawa about the difficulties she would encounter in her project, due to the sensitivity of the subject matter and the reticence that Māori-Chinese as a group would have towards sharing in-depth information with her. ‘Are you sure you wish to pursue this study on Māori-Chinese relations? I don’t think people will tell you much’, he said.

The publication of Being Māori-Chinese is, then, an acknowledgement of Ip’s reputation as a researcher and community advocate. It is only through mutual trust that she has been given access to the personal stories of the seven Māori-Chinese families whose experiences make up the heart of the book.  Each chapter focuses on a particular family and presents an intimate journey into the family culture and individual identities of family members. The book is further testament to the courage and generosity of her subjects, who shared memories and thoughts on many aspects of their lives. Their generosity is particularly moving because, as Ip states, ‘those memories involve a struggle against social discrimination and, in many cases, family disapproval’…

Family stories, such as those told in Being Māori-Chinese, are at the core of the growing body of Australasian scholarship that explores mixed race lives, families and communities. Such stories counter the assumptions of previous generations that interracial encounters were either unthinkable due to race prejudice or occurred under unsavoury conditions that were detrimental to one or both parties. Ip is to be commended for encouraging the Māori-Chinese families included in the book to share their experiences, and also for carefully structuring each chapter so that her voice takes a secondary place to those of family members themselves. As she notes in her Introduction, the book explores lives that ‘have been largely overlooked in the formal historical and sociological discourse of New Zealand’. This book is an important step in inserting Māori-Chinese into the story of New Zealand’s past, present and future…

Read the entire review here.

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