Tautohe, Tiriti, Tikanga – Māori recent picks

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.

Syndetics book coverWaha = 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.

Syndetics book coverBeyond 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.

Syndetics book coverJourney 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.

Syndetics book coverMāori 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)

Syndetics book coverMāori 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.

Syndetics book coverNew 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)

New album and a kōrero with local Māori songbird

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Christchurch musician Ariana Tikao has recently moved to Wellington and is the new Research Librarian, Māori in the Alexander Turnbull Library (Arrangement & Description team). She has just released a new album, From Dust to Light, and celebrated with a pre-release gig at Te Papa recently. We asked her some questions about her whakapapa, her music and her new album.

We hear you’ve recently moved up from Christchurch. What brought you up here and how has the shift been for you?
The job really brought me here, but I have to say, that the earthquakes did have a part to play in creating the idea for a change. I do miss family and Christchurch, but it has been a great move for my career. Working at the Turnbull is a bit of a dream job. Also a new music scene and access to new musicians to collaborate with is really positive.

Have you noticed any differences in the music scene between here and Christchurch?
Um, there are not many venues left in Christchurch now. I haven’t really had time to delve into the music scene here yet in a big way, but I really enjoyed working with Lee Prebble at the Surgery, and I am loving working with Ben Lemi Wood who I collaborated with on the album, and also the other musicians who played on the album: Al Fraser, Brooke Singer and Charley Davenport. I think just being in the North Island now is going to open up new opportunities for me in terms of festivals to play at etc.

In what ways have you drawn on your Māori lineage for inspiration for your music?
It is quite a major theme really. It is my main inspiration. I love singing in Te Reo Māori, it has a real wairua of its own, and I find it very emotional. Many of the stories from my whānau or iwi come through as stories or themes in my music.

What’s your musical background? You play taonga puoro; how did you get into that? What other instruments do you play?
I don’t have a background in western music theory, but lately I have been playing taonga puoro, which I have had an interest in for a long time now. Brian Flintoff makes most of my instruments. They are each a taonga as individuals and you need to get to know them all individually as no two instruments are the same. I also play the Appallachian dulcimer which I really love for its delicate sound, and it is pretty easy to play. Mine was made by Ian Davie of Singing Wood.

Is there a story behind your new album; does it have a theme?
Yes. The title was inspired by a picture of Christchurch from the February 2011 earthquake, where dust rose above the city from the fallen buildings. It is a very powerful image. When I was still living in Christchurch last year, it felt very dark and bleak in the middle of winter and I wrote the song ‘Let there be light’ as a song of hope and encouraging us to move beyond the despair. That became the overall theme of the album ‘From Dust to Light’ but also the subtheme of reviving old knowledge and breathing life into it and bringing it into the present.

Tell us about your job at the Alexander Turnbull Library? What are your favourite parts of your job?
I work in the Arrangement and Description team which is largely a ‘backroom’ kind of activity describing what is in the unpublished collections. We receive collections from donations or purchase and usually need to re-house them into acid-free folders etc and make new records and descriptions for them. I specialise in Māori collections, and really love it. I am working on a new collection of James Cowan papers at present. He was a writer in the first half of the 20th century, and did a lot of writing about Māori culture and NZ history. He even interviewed my Great-Grandfather Teone Taare Tikao. There is a waiata on my new album inspired by a story that our Poua gave to Cowan.

Do you have any up-coming Wellington gigs we can get along to? Where can we find out more?
I will be performing again in Wellington in February (or possibly before then). Eva Street Studio, 2 Eva Street, Wellington on Saturday February 16 2013.  People can keep an eye on my website for details. www.arianatikao.com

While Ariana’s From Dust to Light hasn’t hit the library shelves yet, we do have a previous album, Tuia, for you to enjoy. You can reserve it here!

MI0002035926 Tuia / Ariana Tikao.

We also have the book Tikao Talks, which contains stories from Ariana’s great-grandfather, Teone Taare Tikao. Ariana says the stories are a great source of inspiration for her, and that some of the waiata on her Tuia album are directly inspired by the book.

Tikao talks : ka taoko tapu o te ao kohatu : treasures from the ancient world of the Maori / told by Teone Taare Tikao to Herries Beattie.
Contains many traditions and beliefs never before recorded. As an old man, Teone Taare Tikao passed on to the author knowledge which he had gained as a young man from the old people. (adapted from Smithsbookshop.co.nz)

Another book which has inspired waiata for Ariana is Māori folk-tales of the Port Hills, Canterbury, New Zealand by James Cowan. A story and some lyrics in the book inspired her song Titi Whakatai Arorua, which features on her new album From Dust to Light. Ariana says she loves “bringing old korero to light so they can help form our identity now, and into the future.”

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Photos courtesy of Françoise Padellec.