Alice Te Punga Somerville
Thematic Research Area
MA, University of Auckland
Professor Alice Te Punga Somerville (Māori – Te Āti Awa, Taranaki) joined the UBC Department of English Language and Literatures in 2021. She holds a joint appointment with the UBC Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies. She came to UBC from the University of Waikato in New Zealand, and has previously taught in Australia, Hawai’i and elsewhere in New Zealand. Professor Te Punga Somerville is a scholar, poet and irredentist. At its heart, her research and teaching engages texts in order to centre Indigenous expansiveness and de-centre colonialism. Her MA (Auckland) and PhD (Cornell) focused on Māori written literatures; as she sought broader contexts for thinking about the writing of her own community, she developed a twin interest and expertise in Indigenous studies and Pacific studies.
Her current research project focusing on published writing by Indigenous people from New Zealand, Australia, Hawai’i and Fiji between 1900-1975. She is completing a book about that research called ‘Writing the New World’ – a podcast of the same name profiles researchers and ideas connected to the project. She is the author of Once Were Pacific: Maori connections to Oceania which won Best First Book 2012 from Native American & Indigenous Studies Association, and 250 Ways to Write an Essay about Captain Cook (2020). Her collection of poetry (Auckland Uni Press, 2022) is called Always Italicise: how to write while colonised. Alice serves on the editorial boards of several academic journals and is the editor of the Journal of New Zealand Literature.
She came to UBC from the University of Waikato in New Zealand; she has previously taught in Australia, Hawai’i and elsewhere in New Zealand.