The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 8 (December 1, 1933)
Among the Books
Among the Books.
Following on my recent reference to the unique history of Vol. 1 of “Legends of the Maori,” it came as a pleasant surprise to hear that Harry H. Tombs Ltd. has reached an agreement with the executor of the late Sir Maui Pomare, James Cowan and Stuart Peterson (authors and illustrator respectively of the originally planned work) to complete Vol. II. of the series. The volume will contain the whole of the writings of the late Sir Maui and will be edited by James Cowan, the author of Vol. I. Mr. Cowan states: “‘You will find something here that no one else has got,’ said Sir Maui, when handing me his notes of Tainui tribal history to be edited for this volume, shortly before he left New Zealand on the last voyage. His description of the narrative was justified, for his story of the Tainui migration from Tahiti to this country and the doings of the Polynesian sailors’ descendants is more complete than any account previously published, and contains details that the tribal sages had revealed only to Pomare. It forms the most valuable portion of the volume. Sir Maui's story, which I have called the Saga of Tainui, covers the history of the West Coast people, whose headquarters were Kawhia Harbour, from the arrival of their sailing canoe there to the era just before the coming of the pakeha, a period of five centuries. Not only is this section of the book a history of the ancestors from whom Sir Maui was descended; it also gives us a series of perfect pictures of ancient Maori life, in peace and war. The second section reveals our old friend as an artist in short stories of Maori life—pakeha and Maori life, too—little tales of New Zealand, ancient and modern; a story-teller with a lively appreciation of dramatic values. The pity is that he did not write more, from his limitless mind-store of contes, sometimes tragic but more often strongly tinged with that acute sense of humour, those chuckling fun-loving ways that were so characteristic of his kindly nature even when he lay suffering almost constant pain.”
The new volume will be published early in the New Year, and will be limited, like Volume I., to 300 copies.
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Mr. Cecil H. Winter, better known to many readers throughout Australia and New Zealand as “Riverina,” a writer of appealing verse and stories, tells me that he recently received a shock during the screening of an Australian talkie on Southland. Most of the final scenes of the picture centre round a song with appropriate scenes in France. The song was his version of “Madamoiselle from Armentiers” lifted holus bolus from his volume of verse “The Story of Bidgee Queen,” without any acknowledgments and without permission from the author.
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Two more periodicals made their first footing recently. “The Tatler,” an illustrated weekly, has its origin in Christchurch, and “Point Blank,” the official organ of the N.Z. Farmers’ Union, is published in Stratford. In the latter, Ken. Alexander contributes an effective cartoon.
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New Zealand writers and artists found a very limited field for the production of their work when they came to try out the Xmas Annuals this year. “The Editor regrets” was in many cases not a reflection on the merit of the work submitted, but a simple confession that he could not afford to pay for work published. Some editors, more happily situated paid, and paid well. Others, following the dictates of their directors, imported slabs of syndicated matter; others gave contributors solely “the honour and glory” of appearing in print.
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Coming to some of the Annuals themselves. Brett's produced a noteworthy issue with a fine colour plate from a painting by Mr. Goldie. J. C. Hill's double spread in colour of New Zealand statesmen, past and present, gives further striking evidence of his development as a caricaturist. Among other features the number contains an article and a poem by the brilliant Alan E. Mulgan. Another Annual worthy of notice is “Rata.” the contents of this year's issue being another testimony to the discriminating task and judgment of its editor, C. A. Marris. The colour and photographic blocks are excellent. Then we have “Tui's Annual,” with its irresistible appeal to the farming community. General well known New Zealand writers appear in this year's issue, among them, Misses E. Mary Gurney, Alice Kenny and Una Currie.page 52
Nellie M. Scanlan's third book of her New Zealand Saga, of which “Pencarrow” (now in its sixth impression) was the first, and “Tides of Youth” (recently published and already in its second impression) was the second, will be published early in 1934 under the title, “Winds of Heaven.” Jarrold's, London, will be the publishers.
Shibli Listens In.
Mr. P. N. Barnett, a well known bookplate enthusiast, formerly of Christchurch and now of Sydney, has produced another ex libris book, “Armorial Bookplates,” the standard edition of which is priced at £1 5s.
Miss Nellie Coad contemplates publishing a New Zealand History book, “New Zealand, Its Origin and Development.”
G. B. Lancaster (Miss Edith Lyttelton), the author of the record selling “Pageant,” was due in Sydney last month, and should be in the Dominion by the time this appears in print.
“Drums of Mer,” by Ion L. Idriess (Angus and Robertson, Sydney).—This is another enthrallingly interesting book from this adventurous Australian. This time Mr. Idriess takes us to the tropic islands of the Torres Strait, and tells us a graphic story of the people of the villages of Mer. The author claims that his story is in all essentials historical fact, and, backed by his unique reputation as a writer, his claim must be accepted. After reading the book one must once more admit that truth is stranger than fiction. There is a foreword by Wm. H. MacFarland, Mission Priest of Torres Strait, and a number of interesting illustrations. It is hard to do justice in a few lines to such a fine book. My advice is get it and read it. Price 6/-.
“The Gallant Company,” by H. R. Williams (Angus and Robertson); is described by Lieut-General Sir Talbot-Hobbs in his foreword to the book “as the best soldier story he has read in Australia.” I don't think he is far wrong. This story of the part the Australian Imperial Force played in the big war makes a markedly valuable addition to the library of war books. The incidents retain the vivid vigonr of the moment, being set down from the war diary of the author and the letters he wrote from the Front. Price 6/-.
“The Culture of the Abdomen,” by F. A. Hornibrook (Heinemann).—This is the most valuable book I have read this year. Valuable, for it reveals the plain formula of health. The author, who has spent his life in the study of physical education, outlines his exercises for the stimulation of the abdominal muscles and the alimentary tract. Because he has had no hesitation in calling a spade a spade his reasonings come home to the reader with rather alarming force. Anybody who has read the book, must be impelled immediately to commence these seven minutes a day exercises to emerge shortly, a being, reinvigorated in health and happiness. Sir William Arbuthnot Lane and the late Arnold Bennett have placed their approval on the work. The book is in its eighth edition. Price 6/-.
New Export Market.
In an article entitled “The Outlook for Forests,” Mr. Arnold Hansson, B.A., states: “Canada and the United States have nowhere the timber volumes which certain classes of the community try to suggest. The present export of timber from these countries will have ceased five years from now, and the countries themselves will be in a very unenviable position as regards soft wood supplies.”
Many New Zealanders are astonished to learn that U.S.A. imports approximately £127,000,000 worth of pulp, paper and pulp wood per annum. There is a large export market awaiting the products of the forests established by N.Z. Perpetual Forests Ltd.*