This summer term, all members of JGU – students, teachers, administrative staff – are invited to come together to immerse themselves into Witi Ihimaera’s novel The Whale Rider. The book tells the story of Kahu, the daughter of a respectable Māori family, who struggles to take her place in the iwi (tribe) and win the love and respect of her grandfather, the chief of the iwi. It is a story of rejection and reconciliation, of tradition and renewal – and last but not least, it is a story of the deep connection between humans and nature. The plot seems familiar and yet wants to be read in its very own Māori traditions.

To foster cross-cultural exchange about the novel at our university and beyond, we have planned a number of events: a hybrid lecture series (Wednesdays from 08:00 pm to 9:30 pm (CET), starting April 26th; PDF), Q&As with experts from Mainz and New Zealand, a screening and discussion of Niki Caro’s 2002 film adaptation of the novel, several social (digital) exchange formats including a “New Zealand-week” at the university canteen. The project, which received an award from the Stifterverband and the Klaus Tschira Foundation as part of the “One University – One Book” program, welcomes you all to embark on a multidisciplinary exploration of New Zealand life and literature in times of critical debates about postcolonialism, decolonization and climate change.

Read with us – Get creative – Share your ideas > Check out the program

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