"Striding Both Worlds "illuminates European influences in the fiction of Witi Ihimaera, Aotearoa New Zealand s foremost M ori writer, in order to question the common interpretation of M ori writing as displaying a distinctive M ori world-view and literary style. Far from being discrete endogenous units, all cultures and literatures arise out of constant interaction, engagement, and even friction. Thus, M ori culture since the 1970s has been shaped by a long history of interaction with colonial British, Pakeha, and other postcolonial and indigenous cultures. M ori sovereignty and renaissance movements have harnessed the structures of European modernity, nation-building, and, more recently, Western global capitalism, transculturation, and diaspora contexts which contest New Zealand bicultural identity, encouraging M ori to express their difference and self-sufficiency. Ihimaera s fiction has been largely viewed as embodying the specific values of M ori renaissance and biculturalism. However, Ihimaera, in his techniques, modes, and themes, is indebted to a wider range of literary influences than national literary critique accounts for. In taking an international literary perspective, this book draws critical attention to little-known or disregarded aspects such as Ihimaera s love of opera, the extravagance of his baroque lyricism, his exploration of fantasy, and his increasing interest in taking M ori into the global arena. In revealing a broad range of cultural and aesthetic influences and inter-references commonly seen as irrelevant to contemporary M ori literature, "Striding Both Worlds "argues for a hitherto frequently overlooked and undervalued depth and complexity to Ihimaera s imaginary. The present study argues that an emphasis on difference tends to lose sight of fiction s capacity to appreciate originality and individuality in the polyphony of its very form and function. In effect, literary negotiation of M ori sovereign space takes place in its forms rather than in its content: the uniqueness of M ori literature is found in the way it uses the common tools of literary fiction, including language, imagery, the text s relationship to reality, and the function of characterization. By interpeting aspects of Ihimaera s oeuvre for what they share with other literatures in English, "Striding Both Worlds "aims to present an additional, complementary approach to M ori, New Zealand, and postcolonial literary analysis."