Native identity is usually associated with a particular place. But what if that place is the ocean? Once Were Pacific explores this question as it considers how Maori and other Pacific peoples frame their connection to the ocean, to New Zealand, and to each other through various creative works. Maori scholar Alice Te Punga Somerville shows how and when Maori and other Pacific peoples articulate their ancestral history as migratory seafarers, drawing their identity not only from land but also from water. Te Punga Somerville interrogates the relationship between indigeneity, migration, and diaspora, focusing on texts: poetry, fiction, theater, film, and music, viewed alongside historical instances of performance, journalism, and scholarship.