Showing posts from May, 2018


This online article criticising Luke Willis Thompson 2018 Turner Prize-nominated work for essentially being appropriation because he has light skin and, in the author’s estimation, “passes” for “white” has recently provoked discussion on social media. It has raised some interesting points, but (acknowledging I really can’t speak to the indigenous perspective and don’t claim to) notions of a melanin pantone chart being applied to indigenous people in colonised places is spectacularly grotesque. Putting aside the quite natural variations in complexion among Polynesian and Melanesian peoples, Thompson’s indigeneity is inalienable from his genealogy/whakapapa and his being raised as iTaukei. This sort of discourse has been insinuating itself in postcolonial discourse in New Zealand lately. It has been very popular with neocolonialists seeking to alienate indigenous people from their identity, and more disconcertingly, turns up in internal Māori and Pasifika politics (shades of Deleu