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No. 66 (March 1969)
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LETTERS

The Editor,
Te Ao Hou

Dear Madam,

I recently attended a Maori wedding where the ceremony was performed in the meeting house and the food eaten in the dining room of the marae. The warmth, the kindness, the laughter and enjoyment and especially the informality of the occasion, mirrored exactly Rowley Habib's description of the Maori people in his poem ‘Maori’.

Obviously the sensitive and articulate Maori can write more truthfully about the feelings of his own people than the Pakeha who is on the outside ‘looking in’. Nonetheless we must be grateful to authors like James E. Ritchie who has made a most sincere attempt to analyse the problems and difficulties of the Maori people so that a better understanding between Maori and Pakeha might be achieved.

Most books about Maoris by Pakeha authors are not. written with the intention of being critical. In a multiracial society Pakehas must be concerned about their Maori brothers. I feel sure that many Maoris do not share Mr Habib's ‘contempt for he who dares to tread the sacred ground of my people’ for that would be breaking down the bridges which in many cases have been built between the two peoples.

Finally may I add that I also enjoyed Mr Habib's poem ‘Pakeha’ in which he is more than generous.

Yours sincerely,


M. Hunt

The Editor,
Te Ao Hou

Dear Madam,

I am a 13 year old student at London Central Secondary School, and I belong to the ‘Commonwealth Club’. I am interested in writing to Maori students in New Zealand.

Could you please send me some names of students aged 13 to 17 who are interested in being our penpals, as I know others in our school are keen to write to them.

Yours sincerely,


Maureen Hennessy,


836 Waterloo St.,
London, Ontario,
CANADA.

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The Editor,
Te Ao Hou

Dear Madam,

I am very interested in the Maoris of New Zealand, and very keen to learn all about them and study their customs and language.

I am a 17 year old English girl, and besides the Maori and New Zealand, my interests include drawing, painting, pop music and rugby, with special interest in the New Zealand All Blacks.

I would be pleased to have several Maori penpals, girls and boys, from 17 years old and up.

Yours faithfully,


Miss Monica Cichy,


Stonefield Reception Centre,
904 Sidcup Rd,
New Eltham, LONDON, S.E.9,
ENGLAND.

(any readers interested in writing to these girls or their friends please contact them directly—ed.)

The Editor,
Te Ao Hou

Dear Madam,

For Mr Rowley Habib to view with contempt any Pakeha who tries to come to some understanding of the Maori is not merely an expression of ‘bias’ but bigotry. That he also believes only the Maori is in a position to criticise, for example, the Maori, is no less narrow-minded.

In respect to his opinion that only the ‘true Maori’ can be ‘caught and written about’ by the Maori himself, all that can be really said is that he is obviously unfamiliar with the writing of Baucke and Middleton: Pakeha who not only knew the Maori but thoroughly understood the people—‘as human beings’.

The Maori, I'm inclined to believe, is no different from any other people—taken individually or as a group; they are neither more not less complex than the Pakeha, or any other race—and no more, nor less, difficult to understand, given interest in them. To create, as Mr Habib attempts to do, some form of psychological ‘mystique’ in respect to the Maori is simply a crude expression of, again, bigotry, the underlying suggestion being that the Maori is different in some basic human essentials—he has, for example, ‘subtle emotions’ outside the understanding of anyone other than the Maori. Which is nonsense; all races share a common humanity, open to all men who wish to share it.

Finally, dare I suggest, in the light of Mr Habib's preoccupation with glass enclosures, that those who live in them should never throw stones—at Pakeha, or anyone else?

Yours sincerely,


Alan Taylor