Keywords: health, wellbeing, New Zealand, short stories, Māori culture, F. Sargeson, R. Finlayson, N. Hilliard P. Grace, W. Ihimaera


Conceptions of wellbeing and good life vary considerably in different cultures. A recent study demonstrates that in the post-contact period, in particular between 1870-1940, New Zealand was the healthiest country in the world in terms of life expectancy, but only for non-Māori citizens. The introduction of Western culture and liberal economy was lethal for Māori who risked extinction. One race prospered to the detriment of the other. This trend changed when subalternity became resistance, and the government and public opinion acknowledged Māori “diversity” as a legitimate face of the country. The official recognition of specific indigenous views of health, development, social structures and wellbeing led to the establishment of formal institutions, strategic plans and frameworks to promote them. Māori have also influenced national policies on some cross-cultural issues, for example the defence of the environment. All this has been recorded in short stories, the most widespread genre in Aotearoa New Zealand. My article explores different notions of wellbeing in New Zealand short fictions by non-Māori and Māori authors such as Frank Sargeson, Roderick Finlayson, Noel Hilliard, Witi Ihimaera and Patricia Grace.

Author Biography

Paola Della Valle, Università degli Studi di Torino
Ricercatrice nel Dipartimento di Lingue e Letterature Straniere e Culture Moderne


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How to Cite
Della Valle, P. (2016). CHANGING NOTIONS OF WELLBEING IN NEW ZEALAND LITERATURE. RiCOGNIZIONI. Rivista Di Lingue E Letterature Straniere E Culture Moderne, 3(5), 53-71.