Within the pages of this delightful confection of history and memoir the American editor of the Harvard Review describes what it is like being married to a Maori. (Rather agreeable, as it turns out.) By whisking in a study of Maori history and the received ideas of colonisers, Christina Thompson has cooked up an appetising volume on the complexities, perils and personal consequences of cultural collision.
The author has a strong sense of narrative. She frames her story with Abel Janszoon Tasman, the Dutch trader who, in 1642, caught the first recorded European glimpse of New Zealand, thus ending a thousand years of Maori isolation. Proceeding at a trot through Antipodean history, Thompson drives the story forward with a sequence of vignettes depicting canoes inching silently through clear water while pale faces weigh anchor and storm clouds inevitably gather.