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New Zealand & Maori Research: Voelker

AP Themes - The Bone People


AP Themes - Voelker


New Zealand Research

Your assignment is to research information on New Zealand to further your understanding of The Bone People.  You may want to begin by discovering general information about New Zealand.  But you need to narrow your focus.  As you’ve been reading The Bone People, what has caught your interest/intrigued you?  What has confused you?  What do you think would help you to better understand the novel?

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

• Maori Moko (tattooing)

• spirals, jade, greenstone

• history of the Maori – their legends, their creation myths

• Maori medical practices

• Maori spiritual beliefs

• relations between the Maori and the Pakeha (A New Zealander of European descent)

• languages spoken – in what regions? By whom?

• urban New Zealand versus rural New Zealand – customs

• Maori concepts of family

• European influences on religion

• New Zealand industry/economy

• Some of you have expressed curiosity about Keri Hulme.  You may research her as well.

The librarians have created an assignment pathway for you:



Write a two-page paper that applies your research to The Bone People.  You must cite your sources using MLA guidelines.  This means parenthetical page citations and a Sources Cited Page.  Make sure you use the proper form if you use any electronic sources.  The library has a handout with citation guidelines for their online databases.  You can also consult an online MLA guide.

Remember that your focus is to use your research to enhance your understanding of the novel.  I do not want a traditional research paper.  Choose the most interesting and/or relevant information from your research and discuss how it helps open up new layers of meaning in the novel.  You don’t need a formal introduction and conclusion, but you need to clearly establish the topics you will discuss.  You may focus on different topics in different paragraphs and use subject headings to connect them rather than transitions.

You must cite at least 3 sources. One of those sources MUST be a book. Wikipedia can be a source, but it will NOT count toward your 3. Submit to AND bring a hard copy to class.