In Ancestry Albert Wendt introduces us to a cast of characters who live life balanced between the Samoan and Palagi worlds. Andrea’s husband is surprised when she gets up early one Anzac Day to take their daughter and half-Palagi grandson to the dawn parade. Later that day Andrea tells him of a cryptic dream, in which people sing a karakia in Māori, English and Samoan. Meanwhile Laura is determined to fit in with her in-laws in Malie and Paula bonds with her older boyfriend’s 11-year-old through skateboarding. These short stories address themes of family, poverty, assimilation and cross-cultural relationships.
Winner of the USP Press Literature Prize
Albert Wendt is a Samoan-born writer and an influential figure in New Zealand literature. He has published numerous novels, poetry anthologies and collections of short stories. He was professor of New Zealand and Pacific Literature at the University of Auckland from 1988 to 2006 and held the Citizens’ Chair at the University of Hawai‘i from 2004 to 2008. He is currently Professor Emeritus in the Department of English at Auckland University. His research interests are new literatures in English, especially Māori and Pacific fiction and poetry and Pacific art and history.