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No. 28 (September 1959)
– 57 –



Legends of Maoriland—3. Told by Kenneth Melvin. Published by A. H. & A. W. Reed, Wellington, 1958.

In the Great Fish of Maui, Kenneth Melvin, better known as Tusitala Teller of Tales, glides through the miraculous story of Maui's fishing expedition in his inimitable fashion, and in his recounting of it the tale loses nothing of its exciting fascination. I was glad to see an improvement in Tusitala's Maori pronunciation even though he gave an unusual, though still strictly correct, interpretation of the pronunciation of the word ‘Maui’ which he calls ‘Mow-ee’ whereas it is normally called ‘Ma-oo-ee’. As will be readily understood, the correct pronunciation of words in any language is of great importance, particularly to the young folk who would be impressed by the raconteur and suitably influenced thereby, taking his pronunciation as authoritative. Although, ostensibly a tale for children, Tusitala holds the interest so easily and pursues his way through the story so dramatically that I feel sure he will find a ready listening public among adults as well as youngsters.

On the reverse, the story of another of Maui's famous exploits is expounded, once again by Tusitala. His dramatic rendering of how Maui caught the sun makes up for the one or two ‘blues’ he makes in his pronunciation. Again, as with the miraculous fishing expedition of Maui, the tale is intended for youngsters but will have a limited appeal for older folk on account of its novelty.

The Adventures of Hutu and Kawa. Story by Avis Acres. Told by Colleen Rea. Published by A. H. & A. W. Reed, Wellington, 1958.

As with Tusitala in his Maori stories, so Colleen Rea's pronunciation leaves quite a lot to be desired. The story itself is a fascinating little tale of the trials of Hutu and Kawa, two babes, who fashion a canoe with the assistance of Kiwi and go out in search of adventure. As far as the story is concerned, it might have been an improvement, perhaps, to use the wood-working beak of Kaka rather than the worm-snaring one of Kiwi? It is to be regretted that Miss Rea takes one through the tale at such a rapid pace that it leaves the listener somewhat breathless. In spite of that it makes a welcome addition to the library of New Zealand tales Reed's are gradually building up. It might be preferable to place future stories in the hands of a capable Maori. I understand this is being considered. HEMI BENNETT