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No. 20 (November 1957)
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When Elsdon Best died, Sir Peter Buck had this to say of him: “As long as the race shall endure, men and women of Maori blood will owe a debt to the man who toiled so long and so arduously to record their ancient culture with its halo of romance and achievement”. (Journal of the Polynesian Society, March 1932). Undoubtedly, he was one of the greatest students of Maori culture. This brief story of his life was written for Te Ao Hou by his adoptive son Mr Elsdon Craig, now a journalist with the New Zealand Herald. Mr Craig's personal memories of the ethnologist are not very detailed: ‘I recollect him,’ he writes, ‘as a tall rugged individual with a piercing blue eye, who once delighted my boyish interest with a frightening exposition of the haka. He died when I was twelve years of age.’ Mr Craig inherited Elsdon Best's notebooks which are now in the Turnbull Library.