MAORI FOLK TALES
Pakeha readers or students of Maori language will find some enjoyment and educational value in reading this anthology of 18 stories, which Margaret Orbell has labelled generally as folktales. Details of source references and footnotes should be appreciated, a necessity which was lacking with the recorders and translators such as Taylor, Shortland, Grey, Davis, White and Locke. Both Pakeha and Maori should admire Margaret Orbell's ability in reading Maori language and her competency in translating it into English, and her academic knowledge of Maori culture, all of which provide some necessary background in research with written oral traditions (oral fluency in language and practical knowledge of culture are necessary prerequisites for the study of oral literature).
The 18 stories in this publication were collected by six Pakeha collectors and they are from about six Maori tribal areas (or five canoe areas) from different parts of New Zealand; nine were previously unpublished, four which were previously published in Maori have been re-edited from manuscripts, and the rest are re-edited from previous publications. Except for two titles in Maori, the editor has been responsible for all titles in both Maori and English, and accompanying each title is the name of the informant, the title or district, and the date of collection or recording. Some notes are provided on the sources of Maori texts, i.e., on the recorders, previous publications or manuscripts and informants. Competent translations in English are printed opposite each page of the original Maori text, in which most long vowel sounds are indicated by the macron. Footnotes, in English only, provide explanatory material; there is an alphabetical listing of works cited by the editor and a very short glossary is added.
For one who has not learnt Maori very long, Margaret Orbell has done a good job. Her efforts should provide encouragement to students interested in this field, more so too because we have most sympathetic publishers in Paul's and others in New Zealand. Language classes in Maori will find the collection of stories most helpful because the translations in English on opposite pages facilitate immediate cross-checking — learners will find it useful in extending their vocabulary and comprehension without the aid of a tutor or a dictionary. Though the general reader will find the translations are as close as possible to the original texts, the English is natural and readable; one could not say the same thing overall for the translations of early collectors. Academicians who may not classify this publication as a scholarly work should admit to fair techniques of editing already referred to above, and that the stories not only belong to New Zealand but also provide an insight on some of the stories that were told in pre-1900 Maori society; the creative writer in English, who is ignorant of Maori, also has a reasonable base to work from.
But this collection perpetuates some of the things indulged in by all collectors. Each story, which can stand on its own, has been selected from various sources without an integrating theme(s) and outside of tribal contexts. Because of the latter point, Ngati Porou readers, for example, will not be inspired or emotionally moved by the Mohi Ruatapu collection. It would appear that the stories have been selected to agree with Margart Orbell's concept of folktales as she discusses it in her introduction to ‘Maori Folktales’. One wonders why the Mohi Ruatapu stories were included. Was it primarily because he was a tohunga of a Ngati Porou school of higher learning? Mohi Ruatapu's reputation as depicted through these stories is tarnished; for example, the story of Ihurahirahi (p. 54), the woman who discovered the famous Kapuarangi fishing ground is inadequately told. Was this his fault, or the method and circumstances of written recording, or the inhibiting influence of writing on an expert in oral tradition who needed inspiration and so on from an appreciative audience and critical peers?
So the publication also suffers from a methodological weakness in that the theory of folktales is a Pakeha (western) one; it
is not based on the Maori view or Maori categorisation of oral tradition. A further restriction is the confinement of the introductory remarks, selection and annotations to written sources only. (Research students and teachers are slaves to written documentation, and so oral traditions, which have surprisingly persisted today are overlooked and ignored.)
Though one does realise some of the difficulties involved in research work of this kind, it would have been most helpful to have added such aids as a map locating each story, the tribes, the district of the informant, and place names; parallel traditions relevant to each story such as whakapapa (genealogy) and so on, and footnotes in Maori for language students.
Let's have more of this, but with a Maori biased theory, terminology and headings, single or connected themes that are tribally based and not restricted to written records.
THE LEGACY OF GUILT: A life of Thomas Kendall
This is a penetrating study of one of the lesser known personages in New Zealand history. Thomas Kendall was a man of modest talents and achievements who, despite his relative obscurity and ultimate failure, has for some time caught the attention of writers and historians. Why this should be so is really the point of this biography.
Kendall arrived in New Zealand in 1814 as the schoolteacher at the mission established by Samuel Marsden. The foundation and tribulations of this first missionary venture in this country form the background to this account, but the background never dominates the subject and it is the man himself who stands out and captures our interest.
His evangelical upbringing had taught him to regard ‘heathen’ life and culture as the work of the Devil. As a missionary he felt he had to destroy that life in order to bring about the Kingdom of God in New Zealand. However, unlike Marsden or his colleagues he was sensitive to the Maori life around him, became fascinated with it, and tried to understand it. He was unable to reconcile this inner conflict and was tormented with an overwhelming sense of guilt, for, he believed, Satan had ensnared him. He never repudiated his religious beliefs but neither did he lose his fascination for Maori life to which he responded with a deep emotional attachment. Mrs Binney suggests that his trading in muskets and his seduction of a young Maori girl, for both of which he was dismissed from the Church Missionary Society, indicated a deeper conflict than desire for gain or lust. In their different ways they represented his attraction ‘to a whole way of life to which his passions and his curiosity drew him, but which seemed the very substance of all that the evangelical beliefs had taught him to think repulsive’.
This is a scholarly piece of work which may make difficult, but never dull, reading. Chapter 7 is particularly difficult since it concerns Kendall's muddled attempts to explain Maori religion and is of more interest to scholars than the general reader, but it can be skipped without disturbing the flow of the story.
At five dollars eighty it is a fairly expensive book but should appeal to the serious reader as a sensitive portrayal of a man whose faith and experience were in conflict.
THE TAIL OF THE FISH
Well Matire, I knew you could talk but I didn't know you could write. Don't get pukuriri at what I have to say. Remember the proverb, ‘Ngapuhi kohao rau’ and if I appear to be over-critical treat it as a compliment.
‘The Tail of the Fish’, and indeed it is the tale of the people of the Far North, their homes, their victories in battles, their defeats and their lives.
The stories in the main are centred
around the Aupouri tribe, but for the life of me I couldn't understand how my tupuna Kawiti became involved at the very end by the inclusion of one of his waiatas. Surely the Aupouri have their own, and for the information of the writer he was never known as Kawiti te Riri but his grandson was known as Te Riri.
I was very disappointed to find that the arara or trevally story was omitted. I would have thought that Te Kohuru would have been mentioned. Also, Te Kohuru's escape from the cooking ovens of the Aupouris would have made exciting reading — but I may have objected if you had shown who his descendants are.
Talking about whakapapa, it is a pity that quite a number were incorrect, and that they were not extended to show the connections to the other tribes.
The thought that crossed my mind — the book would have doubled its mana if some of the spicy yarns of the good old days had been included. What about those remittance men from the old country, the Tararas and many other people who went to the gumfields? People like Bill Evans, the Yates family, old Anaru Ngawaka and a host of others who were characters in their own right and who in the main made the Far North.
The Maori text suffered considerably due to the lack of Maori knowledge of the proof reader. The following are but a few examples: page 16, mate not matu; page 30, Ka pa instead of Kapa; page 74, Hinga instead of Einga; page 79, te waahi not tewaahi; ka hurihia not kahuri hia; a taku not ataku; ki te not kite.
Enough pin pricking at this stage. Let me acknowledge one thing — the good in the book far outweighs the bad. As a matter of fact, I like it. I am particularly grateful for her story in chapter 25, which shows that in this modern day and age, some of the old customs are very much alive.
The people of Matire's generation are becoming as scarce as hen's teeth, and the pity of it all is that they will take with them the stories and traditions of our people and leave little behind. On the other hand, if they have Matire's courage and put their thoughts on paper all will not be lost.
Well, Matire, even if your stories are a bit one-eyed, how about some more?
ADMINISTRATION IN NEW ZEALAND'S MULTI-RACIAL SOCIETY
One of the problems presented in reviewing a book of this kind is that it is a collection of papers by a variety of authors drawn from differing backgrounds and, to some extent, each paper is complete in itself and worthy of comment. The authors divide into two general groups — the academics and the administrators. The academics are made up of Dr Kawharu, Department of Anthropology, Auckland University; Dr Metge, Department of Anthropology, Victoria University of Wellington; and Dr Ritchie, Professor of Psychology, Waikato University. The administrators include, R. J. Mardle, Department of Labour; R. L. Bradly, onetime Superintendent of Education, Auckland; J. M. McEwen, Secretary for Maori and Island Affairs; L. G. Anderson, Superintendent of Child Welfare. They are a panel drawn together for the New Zealand Institute of Public Administration's annual convention held at Auckland in 1966.
The first three papers set the stage against which the administrators must present their policies and practices. Kawharu, in the introduction, raises the question of how much we know of our multi-racial society and puts in a special plea for research which may show what can, in fact, be done. Mardle, drawing on census returns, departmental reports and private research papers, shows what we do know of the ethnic constitution of our population, emphasising not only the Maori and Polynesian elements but the Chinese, Indians and non-British Europeans who help to form New Zealand's population. Finding such a polyglot collection included under the general heading of ‘multi-racial’ made me doubt again the wisdom of the use of the term ‘race’, as I had done on first seeing the title of the series. Metge, however, deals with this question in her opening section and points out that if one attempts to substitute something such as ‘ethnic group relations’ for ‘race rela-
tions’ the usage is clumsy and unfamiliar. Metge goes on to examine what she terms alternative policy patterns, including such topics as segregation, assimilation, pluralism, integration and fusion.
It is in her development of these policy patterns and Ritchie's subsequent manipulation of similar concepts that, it seems to me, lies one of the major issues in the papers which although not explicitly stated seems to divide the policy-makers from their commentators. In presenting these as alternatives, Metge appears to be indicating that an adminstrator can choose a policy of integration or assimilation and his choice will have a fundamental effect on the path of social change. Ritchie, also, seems to argue that rational decision is a primary motive for conduct in social comment. In one comment, for instance, he lists attributes which he feels are necessary to guarantee integrated adjustment. He includes such things as ‘commitment to the development of the full education potential of one's children’, ‘a willingness to enter into and accept responsibility in neighbourhood and other voluntary associations’, and ‘some change in the status of women and the care of children’. It is not altogether clear whether he believes that administrative decisions can achieve these states but seems to imply they can.
On the other hand, we find Anderson saying bluntly, ‘The whole history of the development of our welfare services in New Zealand has been one of practical measures undertaken to relieve immediate need in the manner that appeared appropriate at the time’. And McEwen stating, ‘What is going on in the Maori world today is a revolution — a revolution as tremendous and as far-reaching to the Maori as the industrial revolution was to society in England a couple of centuries ago’. Both these administrators, although they do not say it directly, appear to be indicating that they are the servants of historical development, not its masters.
Do policies determine history? This may be a foolish question and the answer perhaps that the interaction between the two is the real determinant of social events. It can be argued that in free society the only sensible choice for the administrator is to co-operate with change. The wisdom of his policies therefore depends upon his awareness of the necessities of the situation, rather than his skill in inventing irrelevant paths for his citizens to follow. In societies which are not free, societies with totalitarian overtones in their administrative procedures, it is possible to devise policies such as apartheid which have a profound effect upon the lives of people. It is also clear that where such policies exist the liberal thinkers of the world believe that the administrators are flying in the face of history and are moving towards an inevitable cataclysm. To put this point in another way, it can be argued that it is possible to introduce a policy which, with the consent of the governed or some of the governed, will produce segregation but it is much more difficult to legislate for integration rather than assimilation.
The theme which runs through the papers and which is commented upon by Ritchie is what he calls ‘an expression of a national sense of assurance that we can handle minority groups capably within our present administration’, or what he also refers to as ‘self-congratulation’. Certainly, when one reads the statements in this book of what has been achieved in the various government departments and examines the appendices outlining some of our social services, then there is clearly room for a sense of achievement. The key question, however, does not seem to have been asked — are the consumers of social welfare or other programmes in our minority groups satisfied with what they have received? Are their needs truly being met? Have our services been adequately adapted to meet their needs? In assessing welfare services, and much of this book is concerned with such services, it is more important to find out about how the services are actually delivered by administrators, officials and professional workers than it is to examine the structure and relationship of services. None of the speakers raise as a major topic the problem of communication between the administrators and those for whom they administer. It could be argued that in examining any multi-racial society the lines of communication, the process of communication, and the efficacy of this communication form the major set of criteria upon which one will judge the success of the society itself. The emphasis is rather upon the accommodation of the minority group to the services of the majority rather than the relationship between them. We are offered a description of administrative structures
GOING TO WELLINGTON?
THEN WORK FOR THE WELLINGTON HOSPITAL BOARD IN ONE OF ITS MANY HOSPITALS
There is work as:—
FULL BOARD AND ACCOMMODATION £2/8/9 ($4.88) A WEEK
The Recruitment Officer,Wellington Hospital
without the dynamics of relationship within these structures.
Although it could have been expected as a major theme of the conference, one could certainly have hoped that the chapter on education would have contained some comment upon communication. It seems, perhaps, a little unfair to select R. L. Bradly's otherwise excellent and at times amusing chapter for special comment but he mentions a hundred and twenty-five years of teaching which, apparently, has failed to master the techniques of teaching Maori children fluent English. One could perhaps not unreasonably ask for some comment on how teachers communicated with pupils in subjects other than English if they had no firm linguistic basis for such communication. Naturally in these comments on communication I am not concerned only with verbal communication between individuals but also with the problem presented by communities and individuals communicating with administrators, whether the process of communication be verbal or nonverbal.
Another omission which I found intriguing was any detailed examination of the functioning of Maori associations, district councils and the New Zealand Maori Council. Here at least is an administrative structure, particularly designed for a multi-racial society, and presumably part of the process by which the Maori people communicate their needs and reactions to Pakeha administrators. As he is part of the administrative chain and therefore may find it difficult to examine the Council and its works objectively, this should not perhaps have been the task of the Secretary for Maori Affairs but it seems particularly unfortunate that a student of public administration was not asked to comment upon this administrative process which has emerged solely from the multi-racial characteristics of our society. In so far as the Council is referred to, it appears in an appendix and as part of L. G. Anderson's chapter in which he uses the function of the New Zealand Maori Council to describe the nature of Maori welfare officers' work.
I found L. G. Anderson's chapter, Welfare Requirements in a Multi-racial Society, a particularly satisfying one. He expresses himself both as a man, as an administrator and as a professional social worker in a way which, for me, helps to clarify the nature of welfare administration in a multiracial society. He is able to cut through some of the faulty thinking in race relations when he expresses regret that Maori adoptions were removed from the Maori Land Court; he is also able to state clearly the way in which a comprehensive department of social welfare could serve a multiracial society more effectively than an exclusively departmental organisation. He also is apparently responsible for encouraging other welfare departments, notably Social Security, Justice, Child Welfare and Maori Affairs to supply an outline of their services and some comments on problems of cross-cultural social work as appendices.
There are many minor points which could bear examination, such as, are administrators selected for being free of race prejudice? How can one train prejudice out of an administrator? Is it inevitable that even speakers of this calibre should reflect commonly held stereotypes about minority groups? But these would be carping comments on what is otherwise an informative and enjoyable presentation which to some degree contains a dialogue between administrators and academics and which is ably introduced and edited by I. H. Kawharu.
POLYNESIA IN COLOUR
The production of a popular book on Polynesia by a New Zealand publishing firm, is a reminder that in our modern world, the islands of Polynesia are just around the corner, and we have as near neighbours races and nations enjoying a way of life quite different from our own, and owing loyalties to other nations. It is as well to be reminded, too, that peoples of a common stock with our own Maoris inhabit the vastness of the South Pacific region, and that from these islands the Maoris brought their culture, their language, and their way of life.
Yet, though these islands of the South Seas share a common heritage, there are differences, too, that divide this ethnological
group into Tahitians, and Tongans, and Samoans, and Rarotongans. Through 2,000 years or more, racial characteristics have developed, and the visitor to any group can identify its inhabitants. Language, culture, religion, vary to a degree. The community life of each racial group has developed along separate lines, so that differing forms of government are evidence of separate evolution. Houses, canoes and crops, while showing a basic similarity, are individual in style.
But perhaps more noticeable than social changes are the racial characteristics of physical features. It was these racial characteristics that James Siers set out to capture. He aimed his camera at those features that were typical of the island group he was visiting. Nor was he slow to realize that each ethnic group is by no means pure.
The Polynesian was ever a wanderer — how else did he reach these island homes? But random canoes blown off course, organized migrations, or war parties all resulted in residence in one group by the peoples of another. Perhaps the greatest wanderers were the Tongans, for most of the other groups have legends and stories of Tongan war-parties landing in their midst, or a canoe-load arriving to seek a husband for a ‘fair princess’.
Nor was this practice confined to Polynesia — there was inter-communication between Polynesia and Melanesia. The inhabitants of the southern islands of the Fiji group are more specifically Tongan in appearance, with their straight hair contrasting with the fuzzy Fijian. The northern islands, Rotuma, Gilbert and Ellice, and others, likewise show a Polynesian influence.
James Siers sets out, then, to show us this Polynesia. His book is a combination of text and photographs in colour. He gives us an introductory chapter, briefly outlining the history of discovery in the South Seas — first, the explorers, Mendana and Quinos, accounting for Spanish names in the Melanesian groups. The Dutch, with Tasman as their most important, were next. Tasman's journey was to date the most southerly, and to him were credited the discoveries of Tasmania, New Zealand, the Lau Group, and Tonga. The map of these uncharted seas was filling up. After one hundred years of inactivity, suddenly the French and English appeared almost simultaneously. Wallis, Bougainville, Cook are the outstanding names in South Seas exploration.
In their wake came the course of history. Traders, disease, missionaries, guns, unsettled settlement, ‘protective custody’. And so the islands of Polynesia and of Melanesia became British and French, and Spanish, and Dutch, and German, and American — and not necessarily under the aegis of their present ‘protectors’.
After this ‘in-flight’ introduction, we arrive at our first island group — only this isn't a group in Polynesia (although the author defends this by claiming that ‘Polynesia’ simply means ‘many islands’. And, on examining the index, we find that we must accept this ruling, for we are to go to another group also that is ethnically and geographically not in the Polynesian triangle). Rather sensibly, James Siers takes us first to Fiji. Why not! It is our nearest island group (we cannot list Norfolk Island as a ‘group’), is almost as close to Auckland as is Invercargill, and more easily reached. Most New Zealanders at some time or another, will no doubt succumb to the blandishments of their Travel Centre, and take advantage of the quick, inexpensive holiday tours to Fiji. And the more distant traveller makes first touch-down there. Significantly, therefore, the cover picture is of the ceremonial presentation of Kava, set outside a model bure, while the first plate is that of a girl of Fiji — not a Fijian girl, but one in whom is seen the blend of Melanesia and Polynesia. So the author sets the scene, and we are introduced to the ‘crossroads of the Pacific’ in pictures and story. The text sketches in the known history of the Fijian people over the 3,000 years of their occupation of the island group; it describes some of the ceremonies and functions the tourist should not miss, discusses the social and political present, and wisely avoids an expression of opinion of Fiji's most pressing problem, the relations between Fijians and Indians. The pictures of Fiji and Fijian life represent largely the tourist point of view — yet in the selection there are only four small shots of the Indian. The pages of pictures are grouped; the Kava ceremony, scenes showing the contrast in the appearance of the ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ sides, a fish drive, typical market scenes and one or two ‘general shots’.
Introducing the section on Samoa is a study of a Samoan girl, contemplative, beautiful in a Polynesian way, and with blossoms in her hair. The caption says, ‘Western Samoa stands out as something special; the women seem more beautiful, the hills greener, the villages more picturesque, and the lagoons bluer’. So James Siers' heart is captured, and he sets the scene for our visit to this gem of the Pacific. A brief history is given in the text, the social and economic atmosphere is touched on, and the remainder is material for the tourist. I felt the selection of photographs on this section was not truly representative, particularly in showing the Samoan himself, but sufficient were included to show something of the beauty and the wealth of colour of the Samoan islands, although none is included of Savai'i, more typical of the real Samoa, as it is more isolated. American Samoa is given another couple of pages of additional text, but the group of photographs portrays Samoa as an ethnic group.
We now backtrack to the island kingdom of Tonga, shown generally in atlases as ‘The Friendly Islands’. Interest was created in this little-known kingdom off the main tourist and travel routes, by the person of its best-known sovereign, Queen Salote, who captured the hearts of the people of the world at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. Several of the photographs are centred around her life, or her passing. With attention drawn to its existence, tourist promoters set about putting Tonga on the tourist map. So, apart from a little history, and a little economics, James Siers is concerned with telling us what we may see there.
Due east now to the scattered Cook group; attention is concentrated mainly on the two islands of Rarotonga, port of call, and Aitutaki which was formerly the chief airstrip. With improved services, this paradise of the Pacific will tend to lose its isolation. For long the concern of the New Zealand Government, Cook Island industry, both primary and secondary, has been fostered, and the visitor to these islands is struck by the contrast between the primitive and the modern, more so here than in any other South Seas group.
Next, to New Caledonia, not Polynesian, not even Melanesian, but included no doubt because of its inclusion in the Travel Centre's list of easily-accessible places to go to ‘get away from it all’. What struck the author was its individuality, and its difference from any other island group. French in atmosphere, cosmopolitan in its peoples, sophisticated in its standards for the European — James Siers sees New Caledonia as a place of contrasts. He illustrates this in the pictures he has chosen.
The final port of call is Tahiti, largest of the Society Group. Here one will see what one expects of the South Seas — beautiful maidens in grass skirts performing hula dances, white sands and coral atolls, the colourful flowers, the tropical scene. All this is here — perhaps commercialized, perhaps over-presented. There is variety, too — one sees again the fish-drive, the native markets, the native villages, the blue lagoons. Some of the outer islands are accessible — Raiatea, spiritual centre of Polynesia; Bora Bora, made famous in film and story. The pictures show the beauty of the land. As Siers says, you must go to Tahiti to realize how good Gauguin really was.
So our tour is complete. The book has presented what it said it would — Polynesia in Colour. Of the text, it is simple, in outline only. It does not pretend to give a studied treatise on each place visited.
The pictures are all photographs — a little different from the clear, defined photographs of the travel brochure. I puzzled over them for a while. I did not think the colour printing process of the Kyodo Company of Tokyo could be to blame. Some of the prints, notably of flowers, but in some cases, of scenes, were true to life, but some had a colour-cast, while some were a little faded. I came to the conclusion that the photographer had chosen these on purpose; they gave an impression rather than a delineating picture, an impression of colour, the blues, the soft greens, the suffused orange. I could accept the pictures on these grounds. The scenes of N.W. Viti Levu were clear, much as a photograph would produce. This is the ‘dry’ area of Fiji. The lack of clarity of the other pictures could then portray the mistiness of the rain-soaked tropics. Some of the shots of people were perhaps too obviously posed.
The volume will give the would-be traveller some idea of the countries so near at hand, and so worth visiting, while, for those who have already made the journey, it will provide a satisfying reminder of what must undoubtedly have been the experience of a life-time.