Alice Te Punga Somerville (Te Āti Awa, Taranaki) is a scholar, poet and irredentist. She is Professor in the Department of English Language & Literatures and the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies at the University of British Columbia (Canada).
Te Punga Somerville studied at the University of Auckland, earned a PhD at Cornell University, is a Fulbright scholar and Marsden recipient and has held academic appointments in New Zealand, Canada, Hawai’i and Australia.
Her monograph Once Were Pacific: Māori Connections to Oceania (Minnesota) won Best First Book 2012 from the Native American & Indigenous Studies Association. Alice researches and teaches Māori, Pacific and Indigenous texts in order to centre Indigenous expansiveness and de-centre colonialism.
In 2020, her book Two Hundred and Fifty Ways to Start an Essay about Captain Cook was published by Bridget Williams Books as a BWB Text. In it, Te Punga Somerville employs deep research and dark humour to skilfully channel her response to Cook’s global colonial legacy.
She also has a forthcoming book of poetry, Always Italicise: how to write while colonised (Auckland 2022).
MEDIA LINKS AND CLIPS
University of British Columbia profile
Once Were Pacific: Alice Te Punga Somerville’s website
E oho! The beginning of what? Alice Te Punga Somerville and Emalani Case discuss James Cook's legacy in Aotearoa and the Pacific, April 2021
E-Tangata: English has broken my heart
Te Punga Somerville’s podcast Writing the New World
Interview on RNZ Afternoons, 2020
Interview on RNZ Nights, 2021