An Artist in New Zealand Society

Keri Hulme and Laurelyn Douglas '91

From a telephone interview with Keri Hulme conducted by Laurelyn Douglas '91.

KH: Joe [in The Bone People] I think puts at himself in that as much as anything he has ever wanted to be, he has failed to be. He hasn't actually sorted out who he truly is, which is -- as he discovers towards the end of the chapter with the old man -- that he is basically an artist, a carver and a sculptor. In classic Maori society, that's where his standing and his recognition and his reason for being would be.
He's tried all the wrong things, as it were. He will fit very nicely into both Maori and Pakeha society and into New Zealand society in general as an artist. But he won't in any other fashion.

LD: So an answer to all of the devastation is to be in a community and to be more creative�"

KH: Well, that's a nice clichéd one, but I mean, it does work.

LD: And that's the underlying theme of the novel.

KH: Yes it is.

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Last updated: 15 March, 2002 ;
Thanks to Frankie Hill of the HSB Computer Lab at Auckland for pointing out a bad link.