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No. 27 (June 1959)
– 74 –


There has been a heavy crop of books about Maori history over the last few months. The most important one undoubtedly has been Keith Sinclair's History of New Zealand, published by Penguins, which gives a new slant to the Maori wars period and generally gives far more credit to the sagacity of nineteenth century Maori leaders than has often been customary in history books. Another valuable work is the one by John Miller, called Early Victorian New Zealand (Oxford University Press) which sheds new light on race relationships in the early settlement period. Both these books will be reviewed at greater length in a later issue.

Among the less comprehensive studies of the Maori, perhaps the widest interest will be accorded to Andrew Sharp's Crisis at Kerikeri (Reed's, 1958) which is history written, as the author says, ‘for the entertainment of the general reader’. It certainly is an interesting tale, in which the early missionaries and the Bay of Islands chiefs are brought to life. Mr Sharp is a little more serious about historical research than his flippant introduction pretends and we find long and fascinating quotations from Kendall, butler, Marsden and others. He adds little to our knowledge of these figures, although his treatment of Rev Butler is lengthier and fairer than most. Perhaps the greatest originality lies in the use Mr Sharp makes of the findings of Peter Vayda on Maori methods of warfare. He presents the wars of Hongi far more convincingly, by using Vayda, than earlier historians have been able to do.

We also find a good deal of history of Maori interest in A. H. Reed's The Story of Hawke's Bay, written for the Hawkes Bay Centennial Celebrations.

The new edition of Prof. F. L. W. Wood's This New Zealand (1958, Paul's Book Arcade, Hamilton, 25/-) is not so much a history as a survey of New Zealand as it is today, covering all aspects of the country's life and giving historical background only where needed to explain what is going on today. It is very lively and stimulating and contains many shrewd thoughts about a variety of topics.

There is an able summary of the Maori situation from the beginning of the century. Education is covered fully and perceptively; special reference is made to the development of Turangawaewae by Princess Te Puea and to the Panguru investment societies. Professor Wood makes a close and critical study of Maori land development schemes and of the welfare organization which he traces historically from the Maori War Effort Organization. This is the best up-to-date summary of Maori affairs in existence.

Among smaller works we should mention Maowhango Valley and School, a short history of Inland Patea, published by the Maowhango Maori School Jubilee Committee on the occasion of the diamond jubilee (cost 7/6). It was compiled by Mr R. A. L. Batley, an author well-known to readers of the Polynesian Journal. Mr Batley contributes a detailed history of the Maowhango Valley in which the Maori aspects are fully and authoritatively covered. In Centennial of Kaiwaka —Rautau o Kaiwaka, a full record of regional happenings over the last hundred years, valuable new information has been recorded by James Pene. The rest of the historical Maori material, interesting though it is, appears to have been drawn mainly from Percy Smith.

E. S.

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An old trail from Kairoa Pa to Ketemarae Pa, in Taranaki, was marked with a memorial cairn by the National Historic Places Trust recently. The cairn is on the Stratford-Whangamomona Road, three miles from Stratford. The trail, known as Whakaahu Rangi, is said to have been used since the 14th century.