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No. 42 (March 1963)
– 57 –

Books

Northland: A Regional Magazine
Special Waitangi Issue, 2/-

Northland’ is an unpretentious and attractive quarterly magazine concerned with history and literature in North Auckland. It is owned by the community, through a non-profit society, and publishes articles, reminiscences, short stories and poetry by North Auckland writers. This special Waitangi issue commemorates the visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth to Waitangi, and has a number of very interesting articles on the history and significance of the Treaty, and of the National Reserve which commemorates it.

Any publication of this kind must inevitably be somewhat uneven in quality, but ‘Northland’ always contains much of interest even to those of us who live far away from the North.

People up there are very fortunate to have a magazine which is doing so much to foster a greater understanding and interest in the region's very lively past and present. It naturally publishes much of Maori interest, and among its Maori contributors two names at least, those of the artist Muru Walters and the poet Hone Tuwhare, are widely known.

—M.O.

Mutton On The Menu

Mutton on the Menu’ is a highly entertaining book, as easily digested as toheroa, pork bone and puha. The story is that of a young Englishman who has been sent out to this country by his father in order to be toughened up by an uncle, a typical Kiwi sheep farmer.

The author portrays the New Zealand situation, and of course race relations. The message rings loud and clear—that although Maoris and Pakehas have lived side by side for the last hundred years, they are still certainly not living together.

The Kiwi farmer's stereotype of his Maori neighbours is a very typical one: they are lazy, good for nothing in particular, and given to appropriating things which strictly speaking are not their own property. In this case there is a certain basic truth in this, but it is not until Hori has an accident that the Kiwi comes to see his good points as well, and they really become friends. Furthermore, by this time accounts had been squared between them, everyone has had his revenge on everyone else, and everyone is happy.

Maoris and Pakehas should read this book; I think they will enjoy it as much as I have.

—Brownie Puriri

When The Rainbow Is Pale

dear Reader, this book is hardly worth the mentioning. It is about Jack Rutherford, a man who lived for about ten years from 1816 with Maoris. In his introduction to the book the author writes pleasantly and intelligently enough of his interest in the three or four facts upon which the book is based. Once the story begins, however, the author writes down, presumably to the level of his hero, who, so the book says several times, is an illiterate.

As the story goes the American brig, ‘Agnes’ is attacked by Maoris seeking revenge for the drowning of one of their womenfolk. The crew is killed and eaten except for Rutherford and a lad who are enslaved. They run away but meet a war-party advancing to attack the village from which they have escaped. The lad is killed but Rutherford manages to warn ‘his’ village of the danger and the village is saved. For this he is given his freedom.

From then on he shares fully in the life of the village, its simple routines and cannibal feasts, its councils and cannibal feasts, and its wars and cannibal feasts. Rutherford is made a chief, is heavily tattooed, has an enemy, and two wives, and comes to enjoy cannibal feasts. Yet he remains a pakeha and one day he sails away. This happens when he reveals to the crew of a ship off shore, a plan to attack the ship as the ‘Agnes’ has been attacked.

Years later he returns to the village, knowing that he will be killed for his past deceit, but not caring so long as he can spend one night in the whare that had been his home. His old enemy, who has become the chief, is looking forward to killing Rutherford in the morning but Rutherford dies during the night. This provides the local missionary with a powerful argument for the Christian God and when the book ends there is a sense that Rutherford has done something useful at last.

The author is a lawyer and there is some gratuitous nonsense about Roman law and Maori customs. The love story is weak. The author's idea of life in the Maori village is vulgar.

Gentle Reader, this book is not recommended.

—Earle Spencer

Pattern Making

This is a new, enlarged version of a book which has proved very popular with women who make their own clothes. It is clear and easy to follow, and equally valuable for school and home use.