Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa Go to Te Ao Hou homepage
No. 60 (September 1967)
– 57 –



This book is another of the steadily growing number of tribal histories written by a member of the tribe—always a bold undertaking for a Maori, but one which we hope to see more frequently.

As a Ngati Ruakawa the author is naturally more concerned with the period following the settlement of the Tainui people on the Kapiti coast and the reader will find only a summary of the story of the Rangitane, Muaupoko and Ngati Ira who occupied the district before that time.

The complex pattern of migration from Waikato and Taranaki during and after Te Rauparaha's conquest is set out in a straightforward and readable way without the morass of detail which is always a temptation to the recorder of Maori tradition. A great deal of work was done by the author to identify the sites of various settlements and tribal battles and this section of the book, wisely separated from the main story, is a notable contribution to the history of Horowhenua, Waikanae and Kapiti.

We could do with more local histories of this kind. It is a tragedy that the author did not long survive the publication of his book. Haere, e tama, haere ki nga tupuna rongonui i heke mai na ki Kapiti ki te kawe tikanga hei ora mo nga uri o muri nei.

We add a comment by that indesctructible genealogist, Wiremu Kingi te Aweawe of Rangiotu.

The late Mr W. Carkeek, is to be commended for the work and time that he put into his book The Kapiti Coast.

From page I to page 10, ‘The People of the Land’—it covers a very exciting period. On page 3, the author correctly says that Buick had erred in calling Naitara, Ngatiara.

Half-way down page 3, a reference was made by Adkin, that Hau was a son of Popoto. Actually he was the priest of the Aotea canoe. On page 18, Te Awakautere is Te Aokautere.

On page 20, Te Rangihauku should be Te Rangikautaka. Page 22 states that Te Whatanui was defeated in Hawke's Bay by Kahungunu. There was a Raukawa party under Chief Te Momo defeated at Te Rotoatara by Kahununu. Te Ahu Karamu came with his party without Te Whatanui to Kapiti on pages 22 and 23.

The migration known as Te Kariritahi. When Te Ahukaramu returned to Ngati Raukawa at Maungatautari, Te Whatanui was there. It was Te Whatanui who led and brought Ngati-Raukawa down to interview Waitohi. This migration was called Te Hekewhirinui, the chosen sub-tribes of Ngati-Raukawa.

The main narrator in this book is Matene Te Whiwhi, a wonderful chief in his time and one who was held in very high esteem and affection by veryone. All that has been written by the author of Matene Te Whiwhi's versions is fairly accurate and I have no hesitation whatever in recommending The Kapiti Coast to any of our Maori scholars and people to read.

a study in social change and race relations

reviewed by K. Dewes

Through the combined efforts of Mrs Fraenkel, Blackwood and Janet Paul, the Maori Purposes Fund Board and Mrs Winiata, we at last have the long awaited dissertation on Maori leadership by Doctor Maharaia Winiata.

Maha, as he was popularly known, has written this study from the point of view of a Maori and a scholar trained in social anthropology, whose rich and varied background and experiences provided much of the source material. Added to this uniqueness is the fact that Maha was himself a keen observer of human behaviour and participated personally and effectively in the various leadership roles which he describes and analyses very competently and fairly. He had the qualities for dynamic leadership amongst the Maori people especially, and these were tribal and kinship status, varied experience, superior education, a dedicated interest in Maori aspirations and cultural values, and personality. While he respected and endorsed the conservative elements in traditionalist Maori culture, he also encouraged, advocated or introduced social change where this was desirable and acceptable to the people.

– 58 –

In fighting for the retention of Maori cultural identity and its recognition by New Zealanders, and in publicly exposing Maori grievances, he was accused of being anti-Pakeha: his numerous sympathisers believed he was pro-Maori. In the book it is immediately apparent to the discerning reader that he felt keenly the injustices suffered by the Maori tribes in the past and slights occurring in the present. His temperament and feeling for things Maori is depicted in his style of writing and in his manner in the photograph on the dust cover.

The theme of Maha's book is ‘to analyse the pattern of Maori leadership in pre-European times, to investigate the changes that have taken place in the status and role of the Maori leader since the period of first impact with the European, and to give an account of the condition of leadership today’. His basic argument is that Maori society has adapted in the face of continual pressure from the superior technological social system of western society, industrialism and urbanisation. In doing so the essence of the traditional concepts of leadership have been adapted, new associations (e.g. the Ratana church, Women's Health League,

New Zealand Maori Council, Maori Women's Welfare League, Federation of Maori Students, Maori University Gradutes' Association) have been formed and moulded over the last 100 years, and thus additional classes of leaders have arisen to cater for Maori needs. However, this study brings forth quite clearly that effective leadership in Maori society is dependent upon both ascribed (tribal or kinship) status and achieved (feeling of Maoriness, personality, job, education, money) status. In the adaptation of Maori society to modern life the Maori associations have become more specialised and the leadership roles of both men and women, young and old, have been restructured.

The public will find the book a mine of information; Maori readers will have the opportunity of looking at themselves and their associations in new light; some scholars will find leads for further research. Maha's material might not provide all the answers on Maori associations and their leadership roles, but one thing is made clear, and that is that modern Maori society and culture is a dynamic force in New Zealand—it has always been this way since the coming of the Pakeha. For both Maori and Pakeha alike the book should help to get rid of some prejudices concerning some Maori associations.

It is a pity that the ‘National Council of Tribal Executives’ was not identified for today's readers by its modern title—the ‘New Zealand Maori Council’, and that captions for the photographs on the frontispiece and on Plate 9 were not checked carefully. Also, in line 5 of Sir Apirana Ngata's autograph on page 153, ‘matenga’ should be ‘mahuna’.

I agree with Maha's argument that the existence of Maori institutions or associations and the role played by Maori leaders in them (or other organisations) is evidence for a dual framework of organisation which exists in the wider New Zealand society, with Maori traditionalist society as a sub-system of New Zealand society; and that this duality is reinforced by differences in sentiments, attitudes and beliefs.

In brief, Dr Winiata's book should teach all New Zealanders that though a common loyalty to the British Crown is unquestioned, cultural differences (cultural dualism in a sense) between Pakeha and Maori are a reality. In learning to live with these differences, let us think of the Swiss people, who accept three official languages, and whose diverse ethnic groups live together in harmony and equality.

– 59 –

TE ARAWA—A History of the
Arawa People

This book gives a comprehensive history of the Arawa people, from the feuds in Hawaiki which led up to the sailing of the Fleet until the eighteen-seventies or thereabouts.

Commencing with the familiar Hawaiki stories, the book goes on to the sailing of Te Arawa; the events of the voyage; the arrival in New Zealand; the exploration, claiming and settlement of territory; internal dissensions over the generations: inter-tribal feuds and alliances; contact with early traders, missionaries, settlers and officials; and finally, the various parts played by Arawa groups in the fighting of the sixties.

The author, Mr Don Stafford, after studying anthropology at Auckland University, went into business in Rotorua, but his avocation for many years has been the collection of material relating to the history of that district and, in particular, the history of Te Arawa confederation of tribes.

With a complete absence of any previous comprehensive work on Te Arawa, we would be bound to welcome almost any attempt in this direction. It has long been a matter for surprise and regret that this important tribe (or group of tribes) that has as much or more recorded material as any Maori canoe group in the country, should be without a fully assembled history.

Fortunately for us, Mr Stafford's work can be ranked as something considerably more valuable than a stopgap. It contains a wealth of detailed history, diligently and skilfully selected and assembled from the extensive sources which are conscientiously noted throughout.

The main written sources for the pre-European and early settlement periods are:


The material written down by Wiremu Maihi te Rangikaheke (William Marsh) for Grey and largely incorporated in Nga Mahi a Nga Tupuna (Polynesian Mythology):


Material published in early journals of the Polynesian Society—especially that of Takaanui Tarakawa:


Minutes of evidence given before the Maori Land Court by many elders.

Mr Stafford has also over the years obtained much valuable personal help and corroboration from individual members of the Arawa tribes—many, alas, no longer on this earth.

For some of the period covered, Mr Stafford must have suffered to some extent from an almost embarrassing profusion of material. I refer to the minute books of the Maori Land Court. Microfilms of all but the more recent minute books are held in the Turnbull Library, and also in the National Archives. Because of the fact that practically all Arawa lands were investigated by the Court and because of the rather unusual method of broad group investigation around the Rotorua area (Rotorua-Patatere-Paeroa) there is a great mass of evidence. It is true, of course, that some of this evidence conflicts, and must be weighed with due regard to the tendency of witnesses to put forward the story most favourable to their own claims (a tendency not confined to Arawas or to Maoris). Nevertheless, the broader lines are fairly clearly discernible to someone with Mr Stafford's zeal and patience. I have no doubt that many times in the course of his work, he must have thought with sympathy of the trials of the Judges whose steps he was retracing and perhaps agreed with the rather weary and pathetic comments that one Judge made on the termination of a long drawn-out case as to the aptitude of the Arawa people for organising proceedings in the Maori Land Court.

The result is a mass of detailed narrative, including names, places, etc., with some quite clear whakapapa and some effective commentary from the author. One small complaint is that at times the detail is so great, one cannot clearly see the wood for the trees. I should have welcomed a broad summary of some chapters in terms of wider hapu or tribal groups, movements and territory, although I would not want to lose the detail which provides a good picture of many phases of Maori life and thought.

Mr Stafford has wisely not attempted too much in detailing tribal or hapu divisions and consolidations. The fact is that we tend too much these days to look upon tribes, hapus and sub-hapus as fixed and immutable groups whose relationships have not changed. My feeling, (and this is formed largely from a casual acquaintance with many of Mr Stafford's sources) is that at different times, subdivision and regrouping of hapus, often under the pressure of tribal warfare, was a constant process and that it would be almost

– 60 –
– 61 –

impossible to get far in untangling and tracing the various groups at different times. There is another trouble so far as Court minutes are concerned; the habit of using a new hapu name as a convenient method of grouping rights to land under one ancestor, though the hapu as such never existed as any kind of recognised or formed community. The question of early settlements around the Rotorua-Bay of Plenty area and of contact with pre-Fleet people or, at any rate, non-Arawas, to which Mr Stafford devotes an appendix is a particularly interesting one. There is little, if any, real evidence on the subject. Though Mr Stafford hopes eventually for some results from carbon dating, he is inclined to be dubious about the presence of other people and points out that there is no clear story of pre-Arawa occupation and that references to stranger tribes do not arise until many generations after the landing of the canoe. I must admit that the various stories of the original settlement of the Lakes district by different Arawa groups do tend to leave a strong impression that there were people about who were not descended from the Arawa crew. I have wondered if some earlier groups of settlers (possibly connected or related to Te Arawa) did not become identified after the Arawa arrival with individual Arawa men in some way (e.g. Marupunganui and Tuarotorua).

All the old stories so well known from Marsh's contributions to Grey are here. Tamatekapua's cunning exploits, Hatupatu, Hinemoa and Tutanekai are here where they belong, in their Arawa context. Later, of course, we have the story of Hongi's invasion, the Te Tumu fight, Kaokaoroa and the stirring story of Mair's devoted band. We meet again Tapsell, the first settled trader with the Arawa, the missionaries Spencer and Chapman and many others of the early days of this colony, but most of this later material is to be found published elsewhere and this book is likely to be more valued for its description of the pre-settlement period.

One more mild criticism. Since Mr Stafford thought it worthwhile to insert as an appendix to the book Chief Judge Jones' report on partitions regarding Rotorua Township (Pukeroa Oruawhata), he could well have added the later report of the Commission headed by Sir Michael Myers (published as Parliamentary Paper G7 of 1948) on the same subject, and also mentioned the settlement by the Government of the claims of the Maoris concerned.

This is a good and worthwhile book which must be a standard item in any New Zealand historical library. We can only be grateful to Mr Stafford for his work and for his decision to publish, a decision which so many other devoted collectors have postponed until too late.

The book is creditably produced and there is a good index and bibliography and a few interesting illustrations. Proof reading has apparently been of a high standard and your reviewer has noticed very few misprints or misspellings.

Architecture from Moahunter Days

A production of more than usual interest has appeared from the joint efforts of Alan and W. A. Taylor. Its appearance is most opportune, for information on Maori houses and their construction is not readily available.

The artistic work shows some skill and ability, but the exact origin of the source material is not always indicated as has been the custom in recent literature on such subjects.

Types of huts have been classified under various headings such as ‘Moa Hunter Phase. 850–1350’, ‘Classic Phase, 1350–1769’, and the ‘Early European Contact Phase 1769–1860’. This is a difficult subject, requiring much background information on the types, and I feel that author and illustrator have shown their lack of experience in this field.

I am reminded, for instance, of the tree fern huts in Maori communities seen during my boyhood—cool in summer, warm in winter, and reasonably malleable in the trunks which formed the walls. These trunks could be snugly packed together and were almost inflammable. Who shall now say that the moa hunter of the year 1,000 AD did not discover this, and use such huts for his gear and utensils? Thus, the difficulties of classification become obvious. Tree fern huts flourished in Otago last century.

Early visitors to these shores occasionally

– 62 –

accepted the hospitality of the family wharepuni (warm house) for the night, every aperture being closed up to exclude air. As recorded by these visitors, the night was spent in an atmosphere of intense heat. The Maori living in a state of near nudity could apparently tolerate this high night temperature, while his European guest scarce dared to move.

This brings us to the importance of the building with the floor two feet below ground level and earth walls packed up at the sides (D.M. Monograph 8, fig. 8). Archaeologists have recently demonstrated the use of this house by the ancient Britons. Perhaps Moa hunter man used it too. In the light of this, the house figured on page 15 of the Taylors' book seems to me to be not a true replica of any sleeping hut or meeting house. The illustration showing the amo, or bargeboards, reaching down to ground level is to be deplored. Decay would quickly set in on the lower margins of such boards, and wet and damp would be a constant nuisance during winter. The view inside the house does not show any interior excavation likely to have been carried out for warmth at night.

The book should have included the type of house seen by Captain Cook in Queen Charlotte Sound, where outside crossed rafters hold the thatch in place. (loc. cit. 8, fig. 5)

Sir Peter Buck (The Coming of the Maori, in 1929, a Cawthron lecture, 2nd edition, p. 29) was the first to point out the importance of the oval house in the South Island, as northern tribes moved southwards. Mutton birders' huts were studied in a search for prototypes of older buildings persisiting in this marginal culture area. Possibly such a building may be seen in D.M. Monograph 8, fig. 35.

To conclude, the book ‘The Maori Builds’ shows too much generalisation and supposition, and not enough reliance on exact scientific data. In their presentation of houses, both writer and artist appear to have used their imagination, without a sturdy enough framework. An example is the ‘sewing’ on the house illustrated on page 9. Again too, we may mention the importance of exact locality and source literature. Extracts appear to have been taken from other publications, and drawings made from previously published photographs, without specific references being given. A collection of such material from various publications (some now unavailable), presented in an attractive compact form, with complete references, would be a most useful and valuable production.


This book, a reprint of an earlier publication, is made up of 30 stories written about the early days of New Zealand. I found it a pleasure to read and most valuable for its historical data. Nothing need be said of the author, as you will meet him through his stories.

When reading the first chapter I found that I was travelling along with the author and his companions. I could see the landscape unfolding before my eyes, smell the vegetation, hear the forest noises and even longed for a long cooling drink from the river. As for pork chops in the bush, it sounds fantastic, as it well may have been.

Further on in the book we meet and get to know Piwai, a likeable lazy clown, who achieves the impossible and buys an English saddle for his wife. Then there is Patokatoka with its four silent staring whares guarding its eel-grounds. We meet Tatai and her lover in a romantic interlude, where love does find a way, and later on at Hurepo, a swamp islet, we read of Ripeka—Chieftainess of Tuhoe—who was killed in a most tragic way, but with love. The author takes you right into the hearts and minds of his characters.

The story I liked best is one called ‘The Mate of the Ariki’, a cutter that sailed around the Hauraki Gulf and surrounding islands.

This is a truly wonderful book and I suggest you buy a copy immediately.


This is undoubtedly the most entertaining book that I have read for some considerable time.

The Irish-Maori brand of humour used by the author appealed to me, a Pakeha with a great interest in the Maori people.

Manu Gilbert, youngest of a family of three, describes himself as a blockhead who left college after two years to work as a bulldozer driver, thus breaking his mother's heart.

To my way of thinking, he is a tangata

– 63 –

matau’, capable of writing 169 pages of good light-hearted reading and furthermore wise enough to become a cow-cocky after all his years as a pole-sitter.

For some rich entertainment, whatever your tastes, this book is a must.

And a comment from Mrs Muir:—

I went to a quiet beach cabin for a week's holiday and took two books with me, one Dr Zhivago, the other Lineman's Ticket by Manu Gilbert.

First I read Zhivago since he had made the bigger splash into the vast literary pool. However, it was from Lineman's Ticket that I got what my Dad used to call a real ‘belly laugh’. You know—the kind that makes you rollick in the armchair, upset your dish of salted peanuts, and then when you recover from the effects of Manu's dry hori wit, you call to your spouse, ‘Hey dear come and listen while I read you this bit’.

I like the writer's style—so true to type and unpretentious.

The preface indicates that Gilbert wrote this for his buddies of the Power Board gangs. However, I, an ordinary Pakeha housewife was so absorbed by the true Maori atmosphere of the book that when my husband came in from gathering pine cones and said, ‘Where are the matches?’ I went off into gales of laughter and said, ‘Rub two plurry sticks together.’

Two small booklets reviewed by A. Bosch

No. 3—The Maoris

As a picture-book, it is outstanding, in that the photographs shown are true to life. The 23 pages are packed with more information on the various aspects of Maori life than one would see in six months of touring New Zealand. I would heartily recommend this book for tourists or as an overseas present.


To begin with, Maui to the Maori was not a ‘wily rascal’. He was a man destined to be a God and because of this he acted the way he did. Also, when the Maori accepted Christianity he did not abandon his old Gods as is stated in this book. He publicly showed his acceptance but secretly held fast to his old beliefs. Believing the line of least resistance to be the most tactful, the Maori today still does this, in that outwardly he will live and act like his Pakeha neighbours but hold his Maoritanga privately. This could be why there is ‘a fusion of two civilisations’. I would rather see this happen than the ‘complete abandonment of one for the other’.

The authors of the text have, I feel, made too many subtle mistakes — as in the two examples I have given here, and should have used the pages to show photographs of the Maori rather than to try and describe them. The photographs following the text are factual and yet confined to only one or two particular areas.

In the picture of ‘Parts of a meeting house’ on the inside back cover, number 7, ‘Pare’ should be only over the door, and the part over the window should be named ‘Korupe’.

I personally wouldn't use this book either for myself or as a present.