Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Monday, November 06, 2017
Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds
Bridget Williams Books
In early 1817 Tuai, a young Ngare Raumati chief from the Bay
of Islands, set off for England. He was one of a number of Māori who, after
encountering European explorers, traders and missionaries in New Zealand,
seized opportunities to travel beyond their familiar shores to Australia,
England and Europe in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. They
sought new knowledge, useful goods and technologies, and a mutually beneficial
relationship with the people they knew as Pākehā.
On his epic journey Tuai would visit exotic foreign ports,
mix with teeming crowds in the huge metropolis of London, and witness the
marvels of industrialisation at the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire. With
his lively travelling companion Tītere, he would attend fashionable gatherings
and sit for his portrait. He shared his deep understanding of Māori language
and culture. And his missionary friends did their best to convert him to
But on returning to his Māori world in 1819, Tuai found
there were difficult choices to be made. His plan to integrate new European
knowledge and relationships into his Ngare Raumati community was to be
challenged by the rapidly shifting politics of the Bay of Islands.
With sympathy and insight, Alison Jones and Kuni Kaa Jenkins
uncover the remarkable story of one of the first Māori travellers to Europe.
have forever remained a footnote in our country’s history, were it not for the
diligence of Alison Jones and Kuni Kaa Jenkins. They have, in effect, breathed
life into Tuai, and have given the thousands of descendants of Te Tāwheta,
rangatira of Ngare Raumati and Tuai’s tupuna, an enormous sense of pride. This
book is also a stark reminder of how much the tribal landscape of Te Tai
Tokerau has changed.
Te Warihi Hetaraka, Ngātiwai, Ngare Raumati, Kapotai,
The story of Tuai illuminates the wider history of early
Māori travels in Europe. Wonderfully written and superbly illustrated, Tuai:
A Traveller in Two Worlds is essential reading for anyone interested in how
Māori and Pākehā encountered one another in the early nineteenth century.
Vincent O’Malley, author of The Great War
for New Zealand: Waikato 1800–2000
Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds is a thrilling
biographical narrative of a young Bay of Islands leader who grew up in the
Maori world of the early nineteenth century – and crossed the globe to
encounter England in the midst of the industrial revolution. This is a story
about the Māori discovery of England. These voyages between worlds represented
risk and opportunity: Tuai chose opportunity, and the rest is history.
Mānuka Henare, Associate Professor, University
Alison Jones and Kuni Kaa Jenkins are educational
researchers who share interests in the Māori origins of the first school in New
Zealand, and initial Māori engagements with pen and paper. Alison, a Pākehā, is
a Professor in Te Puna Wānanga, the School of Māori and Indigenous Education at
the University of Auckland. Kuni, from Ngāti Porou, is a Professor in Education
at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi. Their first book, He Kōrero: Words Between Us – First Māori–Pākehā
Conversations on Paper(Huia, 2011) won the Ngā Kupu Ora Māori Book
Awards, the PANZ Book Design Award, and the Best Book in Higher Education Publishing (Copyright Licensing New
Zealand) in 2012.