Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31, No. 25. October 8, 1968
Maori texts lack unity
Maori texts lack unity
For a long time students of Maori mythology have lacked texts which provide sufficient authorative background material. Messrs Shortland, Taylor, Grey and White are among the more renowned writers and translators who often found it unnecessary to give specific-source references to their publications. Today, however, anthropologists require even' detail of the collection of myths, a need which often finds the early collectors wanting.
Grey's Polynesian Mythology, for example, is assembled from numerous sources whose renderings differ from tube to tube. Grey took the "best" versions and fitted them together with a resulting substantial variation from anv one tribal version. Sometimes he recorded the name and tribe of the informants in his notes, and this aided subsequent untancling in Anthony Alners's recent version of the mvths which, was able to take advantage of later research, providing a far less ethocentrie, more academically satisfying anthology, without sacrifice of reading eniovment.
Maori Folktales, a collection of classical stories, has the original Maori as well as good English translations. The name of the informant and his tribe or distinct, the collector's name and the date of collection one also given. Of the eighteen tales, nine were previously unpublished, four are translated into Enclish for the first time, and the rest are re-edited from earlier publications. The only fault is probably the result of culling the stories from various sources with no unifying theme to enable the reader to compare and integrate it with the other works.
Each tale is separate, involving the reader in a new asnect of Maori life. As a result he may have difficult achieving the fullest possible understanding of them, I think that any Future book in this senries (if there are any could be more profitably arranged in a tribal context or presented under single or connected themes).
Maori Folktales should be well suited to use in Maori languagee classes in school and universities, especially the study of Maori myths.
Margaret Orbell. Maori Folktales, Paul's Book Arrade. Auckland. 1968. 120pp. $2.25. Reviewed by Allan Bradley.
Wally Rush is only a rehousing officer in a bombed London suburb, in 1945. Apart from his work, Wally has a middle-aged frustrated spinster sister, an obnoxious bigamist father-in-law, and a prospective son-in-law Simon, with testicle trouble, to concern him. Fortunately, each problem is solved. The first two home towards an asylum and Hell, respectively, while Simon is cured and takes Biddy (Wally's only daughter) away too—into the married state. Wally's dead wife Petal stops pestering his ears when Magda, a womanly robust Lithuanian, takes the lucky little man for her paramour. Through her. Wally receives a kind of boost towards a higher level of existence; for instance, when asked, he can light Busia's (Magda's daughter) cigarette immediately after noticing a handy "Positively No Smoking" sign, even if he is a little self-conscious about it.
Of course, there is a price to pay for this sort of thing. Wally is sent to prison—for a crime he did not commit (Magda did; a war refugee ought to be shielded from such comparative trivia; Wally can: Wally does), and by a malicious jurv really punishinc him for living in sin with a foreigner. While serving his sentence, Wally will think about what has happened to him and plan his married life with the girl who turns out to be his real love. Basia
Characters and situations are empty, there is no backing of sustained careful preservation or analysis of people, and the exchange between characters that are funny.are only fleeting. Seven of George Beardmore's 21 books are for children. Will the 22nd make it eight?
George Beardmore: Waldo Rush 48%. Macrdonald, London, 1968. 232nn $3.30. Distributed by Whitcombe and Tombs. Reviewed by Nancy Sutherland.