Pacific Highways (Griffith Review, Volume 43)

October 31, 2020
Pacific Highways (Griffith Review, Volume 43)

Migration, demographic changes and new cultural references arere-shaping New Zealand. It is fast becoming a hub where Pacific andTasman currents meet. As a result New Zealand is changing,responding to surging tides of people and ideas.Isolated by ocean, New Zealand's ecosystem is particularlyvulnerable to introduced species. The constant arrival of new floraand fauna, via humans, wind and sea, means the biodiversity isconstantly changing. Humans too have been washing up on NewZealand's shores for centuries, leading to constant shifts indemographics, culture and economics, building on strong Maori andPakeha traditions. Auckland is now one of the most culturallydiverse cities in the world. As a result, New Zealand is adjustingand evolving to create a new twenty-first century identity at thecrossroads of the Pacific.Griffith REVIEW 43: Pacific Highways, co-edited byJulianne Schultz and acclaimed New Zealand author Lloyd Jones,examines the shifting tides in New Zealand through a heady mix ofessay, memoir, fiction and poetry by some of New Zealand's mostexciting and innovative writers. Pacific Highways exploresNew Zealand's position as a hub between the Pacific, Tasman andSouthern oceans, and examines the exchange of people and culture,points of resistance and overlap.How New Zealand adapts to recent profound changes and movesforward is a matter of urgent consideration. The country's economicmodel is generating escalating environmental and cultural strains,but also presents great opportunities. A recent worldwide surveyfound the NZ education system is one of the worst at overcomingeconomic and social disadvantage. Auckland is home to more than athird of the (increasingly diverse) population, presentingchallenges and opportunities for the whole country. Christchurch isfinding inspiring new ways of reinvention. PacificHighways asks what can be learnt, and what lessons does NewZealand offer the world?New Zealand celebrates its unique cultural heritage, but withmulticulturalism comes questions of identity, which many of thewriters in Pacific Highways explore. Who decides who is a'New Zealander'? How are Chinese immigrants accepted? Who are youif you are brought up with the strict codes and behavioural normsof your parents' country but live in another? Does immigrationoffer the capacity for reinvention?New Zealand is an island nation, and oceans and rivers imbuePacific identities. They run paths through major cities and offercourseways for stories. From migrating eels to tasty sea grapes,castaway sailors to volcanic rafts, waterways flow through theessays and stories of Pacific Highways.Pacific Highways also celebrates the art and literatureof New Zealand looking at the country's wealth of artistic andliterary talent in critical essays, and includes short stories andpoetry by many of New Zealand's best writers, from manybackgrounds.Pacific Highways, with support from the New ZealandBook Council and Creative New Zealand, is a profound overview of acomplex Pacific nation with a polyphony of voices. It willchallenge what you thought you knew, and inspire you to thinkagain.