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No. 36 (September 1961)
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LETTER TO OUR READERS

In the beginning of last year, I withdrew from the editorship of this paper with the purpose of experiencing life in a Maori community at first hand. After a stay of 16 months in the Whangaruru district, I have resumed my previous job, better equipped I hope through the deeper insight my friends at Whangaruru have given me.

To sum up these insights would take the space of a book rather than an editorial; it must suffice to say that I came back strengthened in my belief that the Maori people greatly enrich New Zealand both culturally and spiritually. I hope the magazine can give my new friends pleasure in their isolated life, help in some of their practical difficulties and of facts and ideas that will perhaps provide a clearer understanding of some of the puzzling changes in our communities.

Readers do not always spot the articles they would find useful. For instance, we published an article on kumara rot two years ago; yet not a single person from the infested areas, as far as I know, has actually read the article and followed the very useful advice it gives. I have now published a second article on kumara rot, in the hope that this one will have some effect; after all, it is worth some effort to save the kumara which in some places is hardly planted today, because of this disease.

News of what people are doing is of special importance in Te Ao Hou, because relations and friends are often so widely separated today. I hope that I shall get far more news and gossip—clubs, weddings, trips abroad, sports news, and so on—than I received in the past. Certainly it will be given far more space and stories about people will be our first priority.

Also, I hope to hear more from Maori readers, including the younger ones, in the way of letters. What do you think the magazine should really be publishing? What do you think of the new ideas on Maori questions, such as those discussed in the Hunn report?

There is unfortunately still a lack of material in the Maori language. In most villages there are still people who know the old stories; we wish these could be sent to us. Even if they are on tape-recordings, we can use them by copying the text from tape, then returning the tape to its former owner. Over the next five years, many of our old scholars are likely to pass away. Let us do our utmost to record their knowledge before it is too late.

E. Schwimmer.