Tongan women living outside of their island homeland create and use hand-made, sometimes hybridized, textiles to maintain and rework their cultural traditions in diaspora. Central to these traditions is an ancient concept of homeland or nation fonua which Tongans retain as an anchor for modern nation-building. Utilizing the concept of the “multi-territorial nation,” the author questions the notion that living in diaspora is mutually exclusive with authentic cultural production and identity. The globalized nation the women build through gifting their barkcloth and fine mats, challenges the normative idea that nations are always geographically bounded or spatially contiguous. The work suggests that, contrary to prevalent understandings of globalization, global resource flows do not always primarily involve commodities. Focusing on first-generation Tongans in New Zealand and the relationships they forge across generations and throughout the diaspora, the book examines how these communities centralize the diaspora by innovating and adapting traditional cultural forms in unprecedented ways.
About the Author
Ping-Ann Addo is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She has published in Pacific Studies, Pacific Arts, Reviews in Anthropology, The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, and in anthologies on Pacific transnationalism and Pacific clothing. She has also been a visiting scholar at the Center for Art and Public Life at the California College of the Arts.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Introduction : Nation, Cloth, and Diaspora: Locating Langa Fonua
Chapter 1. Migration, Tradition, and Barkcloth: Authentic Innovations in Textile Gifts
Chapter 2. Gender, Materiality, Value: Tongan Women’s Cooperatives in New Zealand
Chapter 3. Women, Roots, and Routes: Life Histories and Life Paths
Chapter 4. Gender, Kinship, Economics: Exchanging Complex Ceremonial Gifts in Diaspora
Chapter 5. Cash, Death, Diaspora: When Koloa Won’t Do
Chapter 6. Church, Cash, Competition: Multi-centrism and Modern Religion
Conclusion: Moving, Dwelling, and Transforming Spaces
Glossary of Polynesian Language Terms