Inspiration from the late `Epeli Hau`ofa

`Epeli Hau`ofa (1939-2009) was an amazing Tongan man. His background and experiences in academia reflects his passion that he had for the people of the South Pacific. He was an ardent writer and a well respected social anthropologist whose works are quoted by many researchers and academics around the globe. Amongst his written work, are his published PhD Thesis entitled Mekeo: Inequality and ambivalence in a village society and Tales of the Tikongs (which was translated into Danish in 2002 by John Allan Pedersen) both of which explores the indigenous South Pacific Islander responses to the changes and challenges brought by modernisation and development. Furthermore, `Epeli Hau`ofa produced a novel Kisses in the Nederends and also a collection of his works in print entitled We Are the Ocean (book cover pictured below).

`Epeli Hau`ofa | We Are the Ocean: Selected Works Publisher: University of Hawaii Press | 2008-04 | 188 pages |

We Are the Ocean is a collection of essays, fiction, and poetry by `Epeli Hau`ofa, whose writing over the past three decades has consistently challenged prevailing notions about Oceania and prescriptions for its development. He highlights major problems confronted by the region and suggests alternative perspectives and ways in which its people might reorganize to relate effectively to the changing world. Hau`ofa’s essays criss-cross Oceania, creating a navigator’s star chart of discussion and debate. Spurning the arcana of the intellectual establishments where he was schooled, Hau`ofa has crafted a distinctive-often lyrical, at times angry-voice that speaks directly to the people of the region and the general reader. He conveys his thoughts from diverse standpoints: university-based analyst, essayist, satirist and humorist, and practical catalyst for creativity. According to Hau`ofa, only through creative originality in all fields of endeavor can the people of Oceania hope to strengthen their capacity to engage the forces of globalization.” – Goodreads

I enjoyed reading `Epeli Hau`ofa’s influential essay Our Sea of Islands and also his essay Autonomy and Creativity. He is an inspiration to me and I would like to share a quote from his essay Autonomy and Creativity which I think is both thought provoking and encouraging. Be inspired. 😉

“I take ‘creativity’ to mean the generation of new ideas and ways of doing things, or the invention of new objects, that are then introduced into society.  Creativity or real innovation always clashes with established beliefs, knowledge, rules and methods, because it threatens entrenched interest. If something is introduced into a situation and does not cause negative reactions, we can say that that something is not really creative or innovative. It merely adds more of the same, or helps to maintain the status quo. Most of us do not like conflict and we tend to avoid it whenever possible. But a truly creative person invites hostility whether he or she intends it or not.” ~ `Epeli Hau`ofa


    1. Hi Bill,
      Much like other countries around the globe, the Pacific Islander population is a minority here in New Zealand. With this blog I have chosen to share not only my poetry work but also the stories, works and music of others, in particular my fellow Pacific Islanders and New Zealand peoples in celebration of our diversity. Your positive feedback is therefore much appreciated! I am so glad that you do find posts such as this one very interesting. Thanks once again for visiting my blog. It is always great to hear from you. Have a fab weekend!
      God bless xox

  1. I love what he says about a new creative idea having to cause a negative reaction – that is truly an excellent way of testing to see how innovative and different it actually is.

  2. Malo Maryanne, never knew heard of him before, mo’oni very thought provoking and encouraging … ofa atu xox

    1. Hi Limiteti,
      I am so glad that you have read this post. This is only a simple introduction to ‘Epeli Hau’ofa as he has an extensive background which is inspiring. Thank you for visiting this blog. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you. Have a wonderful weekend.
      Many blessings and love xox

  3. I am intrigued with his quote! He sounds like he was a very insightful man. I wonder if his work is available at our library? If not, I’ll see if I can find something at the book store. Thanks for sharing this man and his work Maryanne!!

    1. Hi Jeannie,
      Aww I hope that you will find the book in your library and if not at a book store. Thank you for visiting my blog. I truly appreciate it.
      God bless xox

    1. Hi Polly,
      I’m so glad to read your feedback. Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for leaving your comment. Your visits are always appreciated.
      God bless xox

  4. Great write-up! Very informative. I especially like his quote…it is true, creativity I’ve found invites hostility wherever you go. In my experience, it makes things a lot harder…but it’s good to have internal support so that you can withstand the rage of status quo.

    1. Hi Billimarie, thank you for your feedback. I appreciate it very much. Thank you also for visiting my blog. It is always great hearing from you! Have a fab week. God bless xox

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