Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All
The book starts with Abel Tasman’s discovery of New Zealand in 1642 and tells the story of the first contact between Europeans and New Zealand’s Maori population. It proceeds to examine the misconceptions and stereotypes engendered between both cultures since then. In juxtaposition is Thompson’s own love story; how she met and married a Maori man called Seven and travelled over the years between Australia, Hawaii, New Zealand and America.
Though her exploration of New Zealand history is well researched and interesting her academic and often clinical impersonality is at times irksome and, however unintentional, tinged with a patronizing undertone. The premise of mirroring her own relationship with early cross-cultural encounters, though provocative, is not wholly realistic. She recounts an exchange with her Maori brother-in-law when she tells him of her intention of writing their family, (Maori), story whereby he replies bluntly, ‘Write your own first.’
However she might claim that this is, ‘her story’, the book for the most part focuses on the cultural collision between Europeans, (Westerners), and Maoris. In this telling the latter’s opinions, as with her husband’s voice are, for the most part, silent and absent.