Reviews Books

Jul 5, 2015

Marae – Te Tatau Pounamu: A Journey Around New Zealand’s Meeting Houses

Nā Muru Walters, Robin Walters and Sam Walters
Random House
RRP: $80.00

Review nā Huia Reriti

TK66-Reviews-Marae The dust cover notes that this book is a journey around New Zealand’s meeting houses. The journey doesn’t cover all the meeting houses of New Zealand… but it does cover quite a few!

The journey features 414 pages of photos and images interspersed with text from Muru, Robin, or Sam Walters – the three authors. Bishop Muru Walters is an Anglican Minister, master carver, and former Māori All Black. His son Robin and daughter-in-law Sam are both photographers. Each recites a story from a whānau view with thoughts, discoveries, musings, and impressions from their travels over three years.

I liked the book. The text is easy-to-read and emotive. I had occasion to smile often when reading a text and relating to my own experiences. One can certainly read it in its entirety in an afternoon.

The text had such a personal weave that it allowed me to feel or imagine that I was there, transported to that place or to inside that house – fascinating. It must be noted that I have visited only a few marae in my time but am now thinking… I really should get my ass into gear and get out to see more!

The photos show an array of exterior and interior shots, making the book visually very appealing. The marae are simply beautiful – no matter that some are pretty run down.

There is no ultimate definition of marae here. The content relates as much to place and people (who are very involved and live a marae life), rather than a building. The marae here represent an environment to be shared by all. Unfortunately, for me at least, the content is mostly of North Island origin.

The book is more suited for a coffee table than an architecture library. Having said that, I found that the simple descriptions regarding marae and tikanga are probably as good an explanation for non-Māori as I’ve ever read. I give it an excellent eight out of ten.

TK66-Reviews-Huia-ReritiHuia Reriti (Ngāi Tahu) is a partner in Modern Architect Partners in Christchurch.

Te Ara Puoro: A journey into the world of Māori music

Nā Richard Nunns with Allan Thomas
Photography of instruments nā Daniel Allen
Hardback with dust jacket, CD included
Craig Potton Publishing
RRP: $69.99

Review nā Moana Tipa

TK66-Reviews-Te-Ara-Puo Te Ara Puoro by Richard Nunns with Allan Thomas is a landmark publication including a CD that charts a 40-year revival of puoro – the traditional musical instruments of Māori.

The late ethnomusicologist, Allan Thomas initiated and crafted the first drafts. He was a strong supporter of the marae-based methodology to research and trial instruments.

A major contribution by the late ethnomusicologist, Allan Thomas, initiated and crafted the first drafts. He was a strong supporter of the marae-based methodology to research and trial instruments.

Nunns acknowledges the generosity and role of Māori elders, in particular the critical guidance of Wharehuia Milroy and contributions from elders of Te Waipounamu.

He also remembers an article in The Auckland Weekly News in the 1970s about the musical instruments of Māori. It raised questions – how were the instruments played, what were their sounds, and what was their role in Māori society?

The questions undergirded the thinking of the newly-forming trio of Nunns (musician, school-teacher), Brian Flintoff (school teacher, master carver), and the late Hirini Melbourne (Ngāi Tūhoe and Ngāti Kahungunu musician-composer, linguist, and senior lecturer). Hirini was “the lynchpin and the heart of the group”. For the two other men, he would provide the sanction and point of entrance into the Māori world.

Pūoro opened new pathways of sound that shifted thinking wherever they were played. On marae, in wānanga, schools, universities, museums, and galleries, there was interest amongst composers, musicians, producers, and especially instrument makers – those who would carry the traditions on.

The included CD, Mahi, reveals the moods and resonances, the timbre and tone, the brushings, tapping, and rhythm of the Māori world. The tracks Raureka (Richard Nunns), Wai (Hirini Melbourne), Te Hekenga-a-Rangi (Aroha Yates-Smith), and Takutaku (Whirimako Black) are immediately evocative.

Through the skillful musicianship of Richard Nunns, puoro engage easily with the orchestral and jazz compositions of Gillian Whitehead, Judy Bailey, Dave Lisik, Tim Hopkins, The Chris Mason-Battley Group, Paul Dyne, and others.

“…Puoro are brought into new contexts in classical, popular and jazz music and are presented in a lot of ways in everyday life in contemporary New Zealand; in television programmes, commercials, documentaries and feature films, in museums, art galleries, in pōwhiri and kapa haka performances, in government and diplomatic exchanges. It is a treasure and national symbol, increasingly finding an international voice…”

Te Ara Puoro – an extraordinary journey into the world of Māori music, that unwraps and reflects the soundscape of a land and its people, and those who caught the vision to carry it out.

TK66-Reviews-Moana-TipaMoana Tipa (Ngāi te Aotaumarewa, Hine Matua, Tūāhiriri) is a writer, researcher and painter.


Nā Tihema Baker
Huia Publishers
RRP: $25.00

Review nā Mark Revington

TK66-Reviews-Watched There are a couple of things you need to know about Tihema Baker. Watched is his debut novel, developed under the eye of mentor Phillip Mann after Tihema was accepted into the Te Papa Tupu Māori Writers’ Programme in 2012.

The following year he won the award for Best Short Story written in te reo Māori at the Pikihuia Awards for Māori Writers, and his story was included in Huia Short Stories 10 later that year. Clearly a young author to keep an eye on then.

Watched falls into the category of teen fiction, and is a science fiction story with a slight dystopian air. It follows two boys, Rory and Jason, who have superpowers and are selected for training with a secretive group which is supposedly about saving the world. Is this kaupapa for real? The friendship of Rory and Jason is tested to the full as we are taken on a dark dystopian journey through events in the training camp and later out in the “real” world. It has plenty of energy, and while the backstory of the two central characters is a little clichéd, the pace of the story and the energy of Tihema’s ideas more than makes up for it.

TK66-Reviews-Mark-RevingtonMark Revington is editor of TE KARAKA.

Heke-nuku-mai-ngā-iwi Busby – Not Here by Chance

Nā Jeff Evans
Huia Publishers
RRP: $45.00

Review nā Maatakiwi Wakefield

TK66-Reviews-Busby “He Atua, he tangata…”

Not here by chance is the life story of Heke-nuku-mai-ngā-iwi “Hec” Busby, a highly-regarded and well-respected Te Rarawa elder, widely known as a master traditional navigator, master waka builder, and waka expert.

The book is well-written and an easy read, providing the backstory for a man many consider a living legend. That claim seems well founded when one learns of his many accomplishments over his 83 years, in spite of health issues and personal setbacks. He is best known for building more than 20 various traditional voyaging waka, and circumnavigating the South Pacific more than 20 times from 1992 to 2013.

“Pāpā Hec” gives an honest account of his life, both the highs and the lows. He is a hard taskmaster who strives for excellence in all he does, expecting nothing less from those he tutors or works with. His dedication is not only commendable but inspirational. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the preservation of traditional knowledge, waka voyaging, or just wanting a good read on a winter’s afternoon.

Komingomingo nei te aroha mōhou e Pā mō tēnei taonga nāhau i waiho mai nei mā mātou, a, mā ngā uri a muri ake nei e manakohia ki ēnei mātauranga. Mei kore ake koe hei mahi āu mahi, ki te kore koe, kātahi ka ngaro ki te pō, auare hoki mai. Nō reira e te huia kaimanawa, naia te whakamiha…

TK66-Reviews-Maatakiwi-WakefieldMaatakiwi Wakefield (Waitaha, Kāti Mamoe, Kāi Tahu, Ngāti Mutunga, Te Ati Awa, Ngāti Toa) has started a news broadcast on Tahu FM and is assisting Matapopore with arts and cultural advice.

Patient: Portraits from a doctor’s surgery

Nā Dr Chris Reid
Craig Potton Publishing
RRP: $39.99

Review nā Phil Tumataroa

TK66-Reviews-Patient Chris Reid is a doctor and photographer working in Kerikeri, Bay of Islands.

His book Patient is a collection of colour and black and white photographs, mostly shot as head and shoulder portraits.

The photographs were compiled over a two-year period when Reid asked his patients if he could photograph them following their consultation.

Reid’s work varies from beautifully rendered sensitive studies to the more pragmatic-looking portraits you might expect to achieve on a decent handheld device these days. For my eye this doesn’t detract from the book; rather, it helps to set its pace and adds another layer, hinting at the relationship between the photographer/doctor and his subjects/patients.

For the most part Reid’s portraits have the subjects/patients making direct eye contact with the camera. It works effectively for the book, as you can’t help but pause and search for the story that lies behind. The captions and a smattering of short stories that append the photographs neatly reveal the heart of ongoing health issues, or reasons why the subjects/patient has ended up in Reid’s surgery and in front of his lens.

From arthritic hips to ear infections, cancers to itchy bites, we all understand how our state of health affects our lives. The real beauty of Patient is the diversity of the Kerikeri community and humanity captured within its pages that will leave you both touched and feeling a little bit more connected to the world.

TK66-Reviews-Phil-TumaturoaPhil Tumaturoa (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Pahauwera) is group commun-ications manager at Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

Māori art for kids

Nā Julie Noanoa
Photography nā Norm Heke
Craig Potton Publishing
RRP: $34.99

Review nā Liz Brown

TK66-Reviews-Maori-Art This is a fantastic resource book whether you are a primary school teacher, a parent looking for holiday activities, or a budding young artist looking for inspiration.

The book provides a collection of 15 different art projects focused on Māori art and culture. With each project there is a brief resume of the leading contemporary artist (including our own Areta Wilkinson) and the taonga that inspired the project. An explanation of the taonga and its use in both the past and the present enhances the educative value of this book. The traditional and contemporary materials used are also described. Norm Heke’s wonderful photography of each of the taonga adds another dimension, making it more than just a “how to do it” type of book.

Step-by-step instructions are supported by illustrations of young artists undertaking the projects, and the taonga that they finally create. It provides enough detail so even those who are not confident would find it easy to follow. The projects use everyday art and craft materials along with recycled and found objects, making it budget friendly. It also provides variations either for using alternative materials or different applications of the art form.

So whether you are interested in collage, design, painting, sculpture, photography, or mixed media there will be something to appeal to you. The projects are suitable for both boys and girls, and the whole whānau can be involved too!

TK66-Reviews-Liz-BrownLiz Brown (Ngāi Tahu) is Kaiārahi Māori for the College of Education and the College of Science at the University of Canterbury. She has an extensive background in Ngāi Tahu and Māori education and is involved at all levels at Te Taumutu Rūnanga.

Kei hea taku Māmā? (reo Māori)

Nā Julia Donaldson te pakiwaitara.
Nā Axel Scheffler kā whakaahua.
Nā Brian Morris kā kupu Māori.
Nā Huia Publishers i tā
RRP: $34.99

Review nā Fern Whitau

Auē, kua karo tana māmā i te punua makimaki, “E maki, kāti te tangi. Whakamutua.” Ka āwhinatia a Makimaki e Pūrerehua kia kitea tana māmā. Tērā pōhēhē tērā. Nā te takarepa o ā makimaki whakaahuataka me te pōhēhē o Pūrerehua i hē te kimihaka. He pukapuka pikitia pai tēnei mā kā tamariki.

Nā wai te waka i totohu? (reo Māori)

Nā Pamela Allen te pakiwaitara.
Nā Kawata Teepa kā kupu Māori.
Nā Huia Publishers i tā
RRP: $34.99

Review nā Fern Whitau

He rawe te kite i tēnei tino pukapuka-pikitia kua whakamāoritia, te pai hoki o te reo Māori. Kāore e kore ka mōhio koutou te huka mātua ki te kaupapa o te pukapuka nei. I tētahi ata mahana ka haere ētahi hoa ki te hoe i te whaka. Ka ekea te waka e te kau, te kaihe, te hipi, te poaka me tētahi punua kiore. Ko wai te kararehe taumaha rawa? Nā wai te waka i totohu?

It’s terrific to see these two picture books translated into te reo rakatira. They are wonderful stories to be read to and by your tamariki/mokopuna. They will enjoy figuring out which animal Pūrerehua thinks is being described in Kei Hea Taku Māmā? and the differences between it and Makimaki’s mother. In Nā Wai Te Waka I Totohu? your tamariki will have fun thinking about which animal will sink the boat. The translations are delightful and you will have fun reading them aloud.

Reviewer-Fern-180Fern Whitau (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha) is a te reo Māori advisor at Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. Moeraki is her tūrakawaewae and she is a proud tāua who loves to read to her mokopuna.

Opinions expressed in REVIEWS are those of the writers and are not necessarily endorsed by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.