‘Te Ao Hou’
For eight years now I have been writing critical articles for Te Ao Hou and during all that time I have often wondered pathetically if anyone ever reads them. No one has ever written a letter to agree or disagree. Now the wrath of the gods descends on my head in a single issue. Regrettably, both the writers who take me to task in issue number 58 have failed to read properly the articles of which they complain.
Mrs Schafer implies that I am claiming that a longing for peace was a sentiment foreign to the ancient Maori. In fact I am saying the very opposite in the passage which she quotes from my critique of The Spiral Tattoo. She has, however, made the point even more clear.
Your other correspondent, ‘Negro Spiritual’ of Hamilton attacks my review of the record Waiata Maori on the grounds that the record contains ‘… some of the finest voices ever heard in New Zealand’. I would not deny this. In my review I referred to ‘… the tremendous potential of this talented group’. So what. We apparently both agree they have lots of talent, but it does not alter the fact that I think it an awful record. At least I have given chapter and verse to support my view. ‘Negro Spiritual’ is merely content to support his/hers with such snide comments as the fact that I have ‘… often shown a lack of musical background’. I studied music at Auckland University under the late Professor Horace Hollinrake but I doubt if the average reader of Te Ao Hou's record criticisms wants erudite commentary on the musical technicalities of the records. Perhaps ‘Negro Spiritual’ could inform us of his/her musical background—if such can be done without abandoning the cloak of anonymity.
A. G. ARMSTRONG(Wellington)