Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All: A New Zealand Story
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Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All: A New Zealand Story

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  337 ratings  ·  115 reviews
An extraordinary love story between a Maori man and an American woman, that inspires a graceful, revelatory search for understanding about the centuries-old collision of two wildly different cultures.

Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All is the story of the cultural collision between Westerners and the Maoris of New Zealand, told partly as a history of the complex...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 22nd 2008 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2008)
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The fact that it took me forever to read this book should in no way be regarded as criticism of it. Life got away from me for a while. It's an excellent book.

The blurb explaining how it's a memoir of a cross cultural marriage can not even begin to contain all that's in this book. The author is an American woman with a PhD married to a working class Maori New Zealander. While it does explore what it means to have a marriage between people of such divergent backgrounds it's so much more than that...more
This is a book that doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. Christina Thompson has a PhD in Pacific Literature and the book definitely has a literary style, but the topic is more historical/anthropological. Certainly it's part memoir also, but I think the majority of page space is taken up by her history of the Maori people. Then at the end she throws in a history of her own white American relatives and the white settlers' obliteration of the Native American tribes. I understand we're meant to...more
Dec 20, 2010 Leslie rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Polynesian history buffs
Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All is two books mixed in one, with possibly the word's most unfortunate choice for a title. It's partly the history of the Maoris of New Zealand in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and partly
of the author's marriage to a Maori man she met in a bar while vacationing in New Zealand.
I found the history of the Europeans' first contact with the Maori to be interesting and the troubled realtions between the two vastly different cultures...more
Rebecca Huston
I both liked and detested this book. A narrative that mixes the author's meeting her Maori husband and the life they built together in Boston and Australia, with too-brief snippets about the Maori encounters with Europeans. Parts of this book did work, but by the end, I was left with very mixed feelings. Only three stars and only somewhat recommended.

For the longer review, please go here:
I was really into this book about an American woman who marries a Maori. And then she spent the last few chapters covering her families American history, snooze. I guess she just ran out of stuff to talk about. I like the history of Polynesian Islands since i read all that stuff normally. So really 4 stars until the American history part.
Sep 13, 2009 Mollie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mollie by: Giveaways
I received Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All as part of the Goodreads giveaway program and was pleasantly surprised. What I expected to be a rather fluffy love story (and I enjoy a prince charming as much as the next person) in a great setting was instead a very readable overview of New Zealand history embedded in one woman's story. The writing exceeded my expectations, the research was substantive (supported by her professional academic work on the topic) and the story was reflecti...more
I love this book. I love the mix of history intertwined with a story of love and family. This is a memoir of the quest of discovering who we are and who our love is. How love spans the test of time through history...past, present and future. That love is not confined to boundaries like culture and societal expectations. Beautifully written and well-researched....a wonderful peek at the world and how we all fit in it.
It has been about a month since I finished this book and I a...more
Kelly, thank you for loaning me this book, you knew I'd love it!! How do you not love a story that starts with a hatpin through Boston to the other side of the globe, includes a love story that begins with a bar fight between a Maori and a Pakeha, and ultimately is an entertaining and quirky commentary on the long-term effects of colonization (or "civilizing" uncharted land as our adventurous European ancestors liked to think of it).
One of my favorite lines in this book is on p. 87 and starts: "...more
I think that this author's awareness of racism does her a great deal of credit. I particularly liked the fact that she uncovered the racism in her own family's history and didn't shy away from presenting it.

It occurred to me that the history of Maori domination by the English is a re-capitulation of what had already occurred in Scotland, Ireland and Wales. England began by suppressing their neighbors on the British Isles before they expanded to the lands that they colonized. In the same way Amer...more
This book resonated with me on so many levels: I come from a mixed racial & cultural background; grew up in a household of academics; lived in many places as a child (including Hawaii & Australia) and have parents from different socio-economic backgrounds. Rarely have I found a book so intelligently and perceptively written that tackles the many ways in which our personal and national histories, cultural conditioning, and class expectations create unexpected challenges as we go out into...more
Wish she'd decide what she wanted the book to be about, and delve deeper

I'm trying to remember where I got the suggestion to read this. I'm leaning toward the Economist, but that would make me a little sad, as it would be the first non-fiction bad rec I've gotten from them (the first bad rec of all was Ultimatum, which I still have yet to rate and review cause I'm just at a loss).

In any case, I was a little disappointed. Part personal history, part brief survey of the history of the Polynesian p...more
Half memoir, half historical account. While Thompson does a good job of uncovering Maori history and there is much to learn from the fruits of her extensive research, her personal story is unfortunately very impersonal. I prefer memoirs to convey at least occasional emotion and this book lacks any. If the author didn't explicitly state her relationships with the other characters, one would have no grounds on which to assume that relationships existed at all. This style made me wonder if the auth...more
Elise Cohen
"Christina Thompson is a lyrical, thoughtful writer with a background in English literature. The pity is, she has nothing compelling to say. This memoir of her life to date discusses her marriage to a Maori New Zealand native and her family's moves through the mainland US, Hawai'i, Australia, and New Zealand, but never really offers more than that. She gives a bit of European New Zealand discovery history, discusses her own feelings about it, and rarely truly delves into the Maori experience. In...more
Not really a review; more of a personal reflection.

Thompson, on her first trip to New Zealand: "Something about the place and the people... made me feel as though I had discovered something new and marvelous, as though I had arrived at wherever I was meant to be. At first, I just sat and wondered what, if anything, I should do. I knew that if I did nothing, the power of these impressions would inevitably fade. But I couldn't stand the prospect of just letting everything go back to the way it had...more
I raced through this book, pulled along in part by the familiarity of a North American encountering New Zealand and Maori culture for the first time. The other part that pulled me along was the sheer audacity of a scholar extrapolating her personal relationship (her marriage to a Marori man)and extend it to the history of colonization of New Zealand. It breaks all the rules - and I love it. Social scientists, historians and anthropologists may spin in their tenured chairs - but it works and deli...more
A very interesting book, by one of my former professors. It's literary and literate without being dry, personal, which I really enjoyed, but with enough context to provide the events of the people in the book's lives with some real context. I felt reading this book the same way I felt reading Common Ground, or learning about my family's history, or learning about my friends -- it's the process of becoming aware of oneself in a way that allows us to see some of the patterns that form the fabric o...more
The only book title that has enticed me more in recent memory is "When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?".

The title quotes Darwin quoting the Maori at the time of first contact with Europeans. Thompson's theme is this contact through history -- in New Zealand and in her own family (She married a Maori while a grad student in Australia.)

More a meomoir than a history of the Maori people. Enjoyed it.
Nov 21, 2008 Gretchen rated it 1 of 5 stars Recommends it for: No one
Very unsatisfying. I picked this up from the library hoping for a history of New Zealand colonization, but instead it was a rambling memoir of the author's trips to Australia and New Zealand, mixed briefly with history only as it related to her personal experiences, which were not in any kind of order. Disappointing, stopped reading it after fifty or so pages.
This taught me a lot about a part of a the world I very knew little of. Very engaging.
I had the opportunity to read this book since Christina Thompson came to guest teach a class at my grad school recently, and she actually clarified a few things about her book.

First, it's falsely advertised as a "love story" about her and her husband when in all truth, it's just as much a research driven story about the history of the Maori and New Zealand, as it is a story about her relationship with her husband and how they came to be. Her being a white American woman and her husband, a Maori...more
Jonathan Bennett
Is it a autobiography? Is it a Novel? Or is it simply just a re-hashed History asignment?

Well actually it is a bit of all of the above - and it kind of works. Definately struggle through the first 2 chapters and although you wont be overly entertained you will certainly be intrigued.

This book educates you in an interestinly unique way. You learn all about early Western voyages of discoveries as well as how natives are now having to settle in western dominated area's.

Some of it is like reading se...more
I received this book through the first reads program at and will have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. This book looks at the effects of colonization as seen through both the colonizers and the natives.
The author looks at this subject through her relationship with her Maori husband and takes the reader on a journey through the past and present. Through her fascination with New Zealand's native Maori's we learn a good deal about the culture itself. I really enjoyed her use of h...more
Michael Cohen
Oct 20, 2009 Michael Cohen rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: anyone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Thompson initially sets out to explore the moment of "first contact" between new zealanders and europeans, describing how different groups of people react when meeting an entirely different group of people. In the europeans case, it resulted the decline of native culture, while in Thompson's own case, it resulted in her finding a husband.

The intertwined New Zealand history and family biography starts to become irritating rather than revealing to the reader about halfway through the book. The sto...more
I was attracted to this because it was a cross between a personal memoir and an anthropology account, but to be honest it kinda just skirted both genres. It was okay, without being great and it provided basics, without giving anything really in depth and although it was okay, it didn't really seem to have a massive point. The past and the present aspects worked well enough, but the whole book just seemed to meander along and although you obviously can't manipulate petty dramas in a factual book,...more
For years I searched for history books that gave either the past history, or current culture, of the Pacific Islands. The population I taught had large numbers of Islander kids in it, and they would be the first to tell you, their culture and history is NOTHING like that of people called "Asian", i.e., China, Japan, Korea...maybe a teensy bit more like Cambodia.

This fabulous book, listed under "anthropology" (a part of the book store I never go! Good thing I saw it reviewed and went looking for...more
Kelly Lynn Thomas
This is more a memoir than a travel memoir. But either way, it can be impersonal at times. The story details how the author met her Maori husband and some of the challenges they faced as an inter racial and inter cultural couple. But the way the author describes the first year or so of their relationship, you'd hardly know they were attracted to each other, let alone in a relationship.

As we follow the family from New Zealand to Australia to Boston to Hawaii and back and forth between those place...more
AnnP Palomo
Yeah, OK, so admittedly I have a New Zealand "thing". I couldn't resist the title and truly expected to skim more than read. But I did read it, cover to cover, and found it extremely well-written, well-researched, entertaining, and engrossing. It is a bit of memoir, travelogue, history, anthropology, and sociology all mixed together with balanced views. There is really no "natives good, colonizers bad" stuff here (or vice versa). The author is attempting, and to a good extent succeeding, to illu...more
Such promise in this half history/half memoir premise. The saving aspect is the NZ history, which is handled less deftly than I'd hoped. {If NZ history interests you, head for Keith Sinclair's book}. Superficial, clinical statements are offered up as memoir here. There is little depth or warmth to Thompson's personal writing, and readers are given no indication she loves, or even cares about, the man she married, and he is featured prominently. Her descriptions of him are consistently framed aga...more

The book is an intriguing combination of memoir and history, ranging from Polynesia to New England and back again.Thompson is an academic on a fellowship in Melbourne, Australia. On vacation in New Zealand she meets a Maori man named Seven. They fall in love and start a family. She examines the history of NZ and how European exploration affected Maoris. There's a lot in the book about how her culture and her husband's culture clashed; she examines and tries to pick apart what's cultural and what...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
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