Wars and weapons figure strongly in this month’s books, but a wonderful reprint of essays by Roger Neich enriched with superb illustrations holds pride of place for me. Also included, a collection of poetry by Hinemoana Baker, and an interesting play Te Keni by Michalanne Forster along with the story of printer William Woon.
Waha = Mouth / Hinemoana Baker.
Hinemoana Baker is the “author of two collections of poetry, … edits the online journal of Whitireia New Zealand’s Creative Writing Programme, and co-edited the anthropology Kaupapa : New Zealand poets, World Issues… In 2009 she was the Arts Queensland Poet in Residence ; in 2010 she was one of 38 writers in residence at the University of Iowa International Writing Programme ; and in 2014 she is writer in residence at Victoria University in Wellington”– Inside cover.
Beyond the imperial frontier : the contest for colonial New Zealand / Vincent O’Malley.
“Beyond the Imperial Frontier is an exploration of the different ways Maori and Pakeha ‘fronted’ one another – the zones of contact and encounter – across the nineteenth century. Beginning with a pre-1840 era marked by significant cooperation, Vincent O’Malley details the emergence of a more competitive and conflicted post-Treaty world. As a collected work, these essays also chart the development of a leading New Zealand historian.” (Syndetics summary)
William Woon 1803-1858 : Wesleyan printer in Tonga and New Zealand / Gary A. M. Clover.
“The Wesleyan mission press played a supplementary but useful part…Woon’s [printings] helped to introduce a whole generation of Tongan and Maori scholars to the world of reading and writing which alone would have been enough to transform their societies into at least semi-literate ones. Because they were printed solely in the two indigenous languages, Woon was among those who were instrumental in putting Christian ideas and values, into the hands and minds of avid readers in both islands…His printing was therefore one key factor in the successful Christian evangelism of both lands”–[C J Parr, in, A missionary library]–inside back cover.
Journey to a hanging / Peter Wells.
“Part history, part biography, part social commentary, this fascinating book is about infamous events that shook New Zealand to its core. In 1865, Rev Carl Sylvius Volkner was hanged, his head cut off, his eyes eaten and his blood drunk from his church chalice. One name – Kereopa Te Rau (Kaiwhatu: The Eye-eater) – became synonymous with the murder. In 1871 he was captured, tried and sentenced to death. But then something remarkable happened. Sister Aubert and William Colenso – two of the greatest minds in colonial New Zealand – came to his defence. Regardless, Kereopa Te Rau was hanged in Napier Prison. But even a century and a half later, the events have not been laid to rest. Questions continue to emerge: Was it just? Was it right? Was Kereopa Te Rau even behind the murder? And who was Volkner – was he a spy or an innocent? In a personal quest, author Peter Wells travels back into an antipodean heart of darkness and illuminates how we try to make sense of the past, how we heal, remember – and forget.” (Syndetics summary)
Downfall : three New Zealand history plays / Michelanne Forster.
“Downfall offers an opportunity to look at the history of New Zealand through a dramatic lens. Te Keni explores the fraught relationship between Maori and Pakeha in the early colonial period. Larnach reveals the dynamics of the prominent family who established Larnach Castle in Dunedin. My Heart is Bathed in Blood examines the tragic implications of a relationship between two young medical students. Each play is introduced with an essay that provides historical context and performance history. Downfall is ideal for students and teachers of drama and for those with an interest in New Zealand’s rich heritage”–Publisher information.” (Syndetics summary)
Te Keni is a story of Thomas Kendall, Hongi Hika, and Samuel Marsden. Much of the work was written during Peter Wells’ Ursula Bethell writing residency at the Unversity of Canterbury, 1993 — pp. 209-210.
Māori tales of love, war & mana / David Simmons.
“Maori Tales of Love War and Mana has been written after more than 60 years of research and field work with the author talking with local elders as well as working from the Otago Museum and Auckland War Memorial Museum (of which he was for a time Assistant Director) where he collected local traditions from throughout New Zealand, in places as widespread as the Far North, Fiordland and the Chatham Islands. More than 50 tales are related and include local versions of popular traditions and tribal history. The stories follow great Maori battles and migrations through New Zealand. The book is organised into Maori regions, including remote areas such as Fiordland and Chathams. Some of the tales have not been previously published; others given a local slant to more familiar traditions. Includes extensive references and indices. Illustrated with wood engravings by the Late E. Mervyn Taylor, leading artist of mid-20th century. David Simmons is a distinguished scholar and author of several popular books about Maori history and culture.” (Syndetics summary)
Māori weapons in pre-European New Zealand / Jeff Evans.
An introduction to the weapons that made up the armoury of tribes in pre-European New Zealand. Drawing on historical sources and contemporary expertise the author explains the manufacture, maintenance and use of each of the principal weapons: two handed weapons (including pouwhenua and tewatewha), patu and mere, spears (including huata and tokotoko), and other weapons (including hoeroa and oka).
Tradition and change in Māori and Pacific art : essays / by Roger Neich : edited by Chanel Clarke, Fuli Pereira and Nigel Prickett.
“This is Roger’s final gift to te ao M`qori, the Māori world. His impeccable scholarship, his skilled analysis, and his quiet sensitivity produced works of enduring value and excellence. For academics, he set a daunting standard ; to Māori and Pacific researchers, he offered genuine opportunity. He was generous, and humble, and he left us far too soon. E te Rangatira, moe mai ra”–Ngahuia Te Awekotuku (back page).
The Battle of Ōrākau : Māori veterans’ accounts : commemorating the 150th anniversary 1864-2014 / compiled and introduced by Robert Joseph and Paul Meredith.
“The Battle of Ōrākau was fought near Kihikihi from 31 March to 2 April 1864 by a contingent of approximately 300 Māori (including women and children) from Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Te Kohera, Ngāti Apakura, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Manawa, Ngāti Whare, Patuheuheu, Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongowhakaata and Ngāti Maniapoto among other tribes”–Page 1.
Includes korero on Rewi Manga Maniapoto. Hitiri Te Paerata, Paitini Wi Tapeka, Te Huia Raureti, Winitana Tupotahi, Poupatate Te Huihi, Te Wairoa Piripi, Peita Kotuku, Te Putene Umanga / Te Rutene Te Uamairangi?, Harehare Atarea.
New myths and old politics : the Waitangi Tribunal and the challenge of tradition / Tipene O’Regan.
“”Negotiating a claim before the Waitangi Tribunal can involve troubling challenges to an iwi’s legitimacy, sometimes from unexpected places. In this unique behind-the-scenes account of the negotiation of Ngai Tahu’s Waitangi Tribunal claim, Sir Tipene O’Regan describes what happened when claims of New Age mysticism attempted to undermine traditional whakapapa and academic scholarship”–Publisher information.” (Syndetics summary)
Te tū hanga whare o Whetū = The rebuilding of Te Whetū o Te Rangi / Des Tatana Kahotea.
“”This is a photo-ethnography, a book that documents the rebuilding of a wharenui (meeting house). A project over a period from late 2006 that was planned, built and opened on December 20 2008 at Ngapeke, Tauranga. This is a Ngati Pukenga marae, an iwi of Mataatua waka origin. The original wharenui opened in 1915 was severely damaged by fire in September 2006. The people of the marae were determined to replace the wharenui with a new building complete with wharenui art. They undertook the creation of the wharenui art of kowhaiwhai, tukutuku and raranga whariki themselves and wood-carving was both commissioned and donated. This is a record of the activity that took place and the people who were involved. The book particularly shows some of the Maori customs associated with the re-building of a wharenui”–Publisher information.” (Syndetics summary)