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The Maori Race



It has been my wish to mention as fully as possible the sources of my information and the names of those enquirers and writers to whom I am indebted. It was found, however, impossible to give all the references. The more widely known the fact, the more references would have been imperative. Thus, had I remarked that “the Maoris were acquainted with the use of fire,” and had then given the names of all authors (with title and page of book) who had mentioned such a fact, my letterpress would have become a mere mass of notes. It was decided, therefore, only to make references where the point in question was disputable, unsettled, or for the purpose of directing a student's attention to works in which the custom or original legend was detailed at length. This I have done very freely, as the references in the Appendix will show.

I have already mentioned the names of many of my authorities and scientific friends. To the sympathy and labours of my true and faithful co-worker in the Polynesian Society, Mr. S. Percy Smith, I owe much in particular, as all anthropologists do in general. To one, however, above all, I am in this present work especially indebted, viz, to Mr. Elsdon Best. His work of late years has not only exhibited quite unique powers of collection and appreciation, but it also has an enhanced value in having gathered up many of the pearls of “the broken necklace” just as they were on the point of disappearance and of being lost for ever.