Ngā haerenga me ngā tūhuratanga ohorere: Recent Picks from the Māori Collection

Pathway of the Birds book cover

Pathways, journeys, and startling discoveries feature in this month’s recent pick of new books from our Māori Collection along with some interesting items with a kaupapa Māori from the New Zealand Collection.

Explore the pathways our tūpuna took around the Pacific through Pathway of the Birds by Andrew Crowe, continue your te reo Māori journey with Scotty Morrison’s  Māori Made Easy 2, and follow the voyages of James Cook and first contact in the Pacific through the lens of the British Library’s Captain Cook collection in James Cook: The Voyages by William Frame. Finally, we highlight two articles in recent journals where you can learn of startling discoveries regarding the path of destruction an epidemic had among early nineteenth-century Māori, and read about an interesting archaeological quest in Murihiku.

Syndetics book coverPathway of the birds: the voyaging achievements of Maori and their Polynesian ancestors / Andrew Crowe.
“This book tells of one of the most rapid phases of human migration in prehistory, a period during which Polynesians reached and settled nearly every archipelago scattered across some 28 million square kilometres of the Pacific Ocean, an area now known as East Polynesia. An engaging narrative and over 400 maps, diagrams, photographs, and illustrations, convey some of the skills, innovation, resourcefulness, and courage of the people that drove this extraordinary feat of maritime expansion.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMāori made easy 2: the next step in your language-learning journey / Scotty Morrison.
“The bestselling Māori made easy gave learners an accessible and achievable entry into te reo Māori and Scotty Morrison now offers a second instalment to help readers continue their learning journey, picking up where the first volume left off. Māori made easy 2 unpacks more of the specifics of the language while still offering an easy, assured approach. By committing 30 minutes a day for 30 weeks, learners can build their knowledge in a practical, meaningful and fun way.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJames Cook: the voyages / William Frame with Laura Walker.
“Interweaving accounts of scientific discovery with the personal stories of the voyages’ key participants, this book explores the charting of the Pacific and the natural world by James Cook and his crew, the first encounters and exchange between Western and indigenous cultures, and the representation of the voyages in art. The illustrations include the only surviving paintings by Tupaia, a Polynesian high priest and navigator who joined the first voyage at Tahiti and sailed with Cook to New Zealand and Australia. James Cook: The Voyages offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to discover the extensive Captain Cook collection of the British Library, including original maps, artworks, journals, and printed books.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Turnbull Library Record, Volume 50, 2018 Death and Disease at the Dawn of New Zealand’s History is a compelling essay included in the Turnbull Library Record 2018. The author, Simon Chapple, explores evidence of an epidemic amongst Māori circa 1808 – 1810 that might have killed  up to 100,000 people. He argues that these numbers suggest that rather than the 100,000 pre-European population asserted by modern historians and demographers, there was a larger Māori population at the time of initial European contact and that there might have been a population of 200,000 or more. This could have implications for our understanding of colonisation in New Zealand. Definitely something to think about and explore further.

Journal of Pacific Archaeology, Volume 9, No.2, 2018 Read about the archaeological explorations on the Catlins coast at the pre-contact Māori habitation site of Kahukura in the article Excavations at Kahukura (G47/128), Murihiku. Find out about this archaeological journey through an exploration of the methodology behind the research and the resulting data on the way of life of the inhabitants.