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A Book in the Hand: Essays on the History of the Book in New Zealand

One: Māori oral tradition meets the book

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One: Māori oral tradition meets the book

The history of the transition of Māori oral tradition to the published book is clearly underwritten by the 19th-century circumstances in which Māori as oral indigenous people and Pākehā as literate colonisers met and lived. Their extraordinarily different lives and the political drama which changed Aotearoa into New Zealand ensured that all their encounters would be tentative and mediated, including those over utilisation of the book as a new means of preserving and publishing Māori knowledge. At the end of the 20th century tentativeness and mediation remain in book production as much as politics and other media capture the oral tradition.

A full account of this publishing and a history of Māori acquisition of literacy which would ideally inform it have yet to be written.1 I will report on three aspects of the shift from the memorised, voiced performance to the typeset and published book: 19th-century book production by Pākehā and Māori; the book's impact on the content and practices of the oral tradition; and the progress of the 20th-century and future book.

In this partial history of the transformation of oral compositions to print, I am principally concerned with books of quality, and with especially composed texts: whakapapa, karakia, whaka-tauki, waiata, kōrero (genealogies, incantations, sayings, songs, narratives).2 If not exact equivalents, these are genres of the kind that engage scholars of fine literature. For Māori they are also a page 2 source of knowledge. The literate qualification of, for instance, novels and poetry as fiction, history and scientific tracts as non-fiction, has no strict counterpart in Māori oral tradition. Genealogy or narrative may explain the evolution of the world, a poetic song or saying teach tribal history. This was to be problematic for those of oral and book cultures alike when they came to publish, as was at least one philosophical difference about publication.

In a literate tradition an excellent book is the apotheosis of knowledge. The process of its production is by and large secular and the author admits the widest possible reading and response. A fine oral performance — an expert's long oration on tribal history, a kinswoman's poetic lament for her chief — might be equated with such a book in the compositional skill, intentional public delivery, critical attention and reply. But the oral production has a pervasive religious strain and a circumscribed audience. In ancient Māori society, ritual frequently played a part because language and knowledge had been acquired from the gods. Today there is strong feeling for the ancients' beliefs, but observance of them swings between what might be termed the old and oral and the new and literate. At the most conservative (perhaps by reason of losses from colonisation rather than tradition), acquisition and dissemination of texts is held to be private.3 In contrast liberal opinion approves the book although, like all authors of family records, Māori are highly selective about what comes to press, and they frequently pay homage to the sacred by prefatory observances.

A Māori oral tradition developed after the settlement of Aotearoa ca.8oo ad, modelling and incorporating its Polynesian precursor, which has been described as 'one of the two finest oral historical traditions in the world'.4 The residue of this time-honoured orality is apparent in late 20th-century society, most obviously in the formal speeches, songs and chants which are habitual when Māori meet. Continuance of the oral arts depends on the questionable matter of survival of the language,5 but books at least offer the opportunity of preserving them as a refined literature. Several 19th-century Pākehā, notably the printer and typographer Robert Coupland Harding,6 recognised in the oral compositions a comparison with the highly regarded Greek and Roman classics. It is a comparison which, although recent scholarship has made it demonstrable,7 might be received sceptically in our country simply because of a lack of books to confirm it.

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Well-produced books of the oral tradition, in Māori or English, are relatively few, hard to find (many are out of print), little read. Quantity, accessibility or popularity may be regarded as trivial measures of worth but they reveal currency, importance, appreciation. The paucity of either popular or serious books partially explains, and is explained by, the rarity of Māori oral tradition as a subject of study in our schools and universities. Print-centred scholars want books for thought. Conversely, a respected Māori proverb professes, 'Ko tā te rangatira, ko tāna kai he kōrero' (As for the chief, his food is speech).

Māori oral tradition as books in the 19th century

Sir George Grey during a term as Governor of New Zealand in the 1850s produced the first books of Māori oral tradition. He compiled two volumes of songs, Ko nga moteatea, me nga hakirara 0 nga Maori (1851) and Ko nga waiata Maori (1857) and one of sayings, Ko nga whakapepeha me nga whakaahuareka a nga tupuna 0 Aotearoa (1857), and he edited a collection of narratives about ancestral life, Ko nga mahinga a nga tupuna Maori (1854). They are remarkable as more or less direct witness to the oral repertoire of the day and for being in Māori (the sayings had English translations).8

Grey schooled himself in the traditions to improve his governing. In publishing them, in part for goodwill between Māori and Pākehā, he remarked on their artistic merit, complexity and purpose.9 Most material for his books came from Māori writers throughout the country who, on request or out of respect, wrote down what they had once sung, chanted, recited, narrated, taught. One prolific writer was Wiremu Maihi Te Rangikāheke, from Ngāti Rangiwewehi of the Te Arawa people, well-known within his tribe and amongst scholars of the oral tradition.

Te Rangikāheke, in his mid-thirties, spent from at least 1849 to 1856 writing for Grey who paid him with money, goods and accommodation. The prose following the songs in Ko nga moteatea can largely be attributed to him, and his manuscripts were one source for the narratives and songs. It is not surprising for the time that neither Te Rangikāheke nor other writers were acknowledged by name in Grey's books.10 With the easy moral rectitude of retrospect, Grey is often upbraided for this. We cannot be sure, however, that the writers themselves were perturbed. They may page 4 have regarded his name on the title page as a virtue of his collation and editing, and his revision like their own habit of telling anew. Authorship, an imperative for the book, is often unremarked in the oral tradition. Exceptional composers might become famous or authority be ascribed for learned dissertation, but the archetypal re-creation of a text for a new event reduces the chance of an original composer's name enduring.

Te Rangikāheke was certainly aware that his writings were intended for all to see. He addressed specific audiences; he made wry or informative asides for Pākehā who were unfamiliar with Māori custom, and he obliged his two readers with comparisons between them.11 But if a book had gone out under Te Rangikāheke's name Māori would have read it as a Te Arawa work for, as he made clear, that was his perspective. A feature of books from this time (indeed until well into the 20th century), however, was the conflation of tribal records to a generalised cultural life which prosecuted a sameness across the traditions. Yet, although themes, conventions and even wording in compositions can be remarkably similar, the point of view, authority, and emotional thrust are autobiographical — they are variously composed, intensely felt, and jealously guarded as tribal.

Until he came to Grey's intentions, Te Rangikāheke's experience of the book would have been the Bible, for it is likely that he was tutored in reading and writing by missionaries at a Church of England Mission Station in Rotorua in the 1830s. Quotations from the Bible in his conversation and oratory12 suggest he was as assiduous in his reading as in his writing. But he was not writing a book,13 although he was aware that one would result. He wrote about one piece '. . . meake anoo i taaia ki te perehi' (soon it will be printed on the press),14 and this newly coined phrase with its loan-word for the press, must have brought some satisfaction, even distinction. Te Rangikāheke was one of many Māori in his century occupied in writing out their knowledge towards books initiated and brought to print by Pākehā. We have little to support the notion that they had reason, proficiency, or a serious mind to publish their own.15

Sir George Grey's role as mediator between two very different means and styles of publication and the intellectual curiosity he and Te Rangikāheke cultivated about each other's habits and philosophies were also typical of others. John White's six-volume, bilingual rendition of tribal records, Ancient history of the Maori page 5 (1887-90) resulted from such collaboration. In an evaluative study Michael Reilly relates how from the 1840s to the 1890s, by payment, cajoling and friendship, White procured information from some 300 Māori.16 In 1879 the Government, with a typically literate desire for exhaustive recording, looked to put 'the whole of the matter' of Māori history on record,17 and gave White the means to see his material into a book. Publication in the 19th century was acquisitive and archival and it may have been thought that this printed containment of their life would move Māori beyond it to European civilisation.

Reilly's scholarship is rewarding for Māori views on collecting and publishing and hence the negotiations between oral and literate minds.18 White met varied responses: refusal to submit esoteria, demand for discussion to select material, questioning as to the purpose of a book and its circulation (with a suggestion that it was vulgar curiosity) and, perceptively, concern about how White would write up the information. Those who knew that their material was destined for the book worked to be in time for publication, criticised material already published, requested a delay to printing so that corrections could be supplied. Such 19th-century meetings between those of radically dissimilar habits, skills, and world-views brought together the oral tradition and the book.

Māori compilation of their own manuscripts indicates their transitional thinking about the book, as one published collection attests. Two bilingual volumes of traditional knowledge The lore of the whare-wānanga , were published between 1913 and 1915 by S. Percy Smith.'19 The material from which he worked was produced during meetings held from the 1860s onwards by Waira-rapa elders, with the express intention of creating written records. There was something of book production in their methods. Names of contributors were cited; the books were scrutinised and approved by a kind of editorial committee who wished the work published.20 J. Prytz Johansen said of this self-conscious and independent project, 'The idea probably was that of creating a national Maori work, a book about religion and history with an authority which could be contrasted to that of the Bible.'21 But it was Smith who did it.

Such manuscripts became the 'book' but there was apprehension about control of this replica of memory. Of the writing taking place in the meeting-house, one Wairarapa elder commented that page 6 '... in olden times the house was closed by karakia to men outside and to those who would desecrate the house; now, because the talks were to be written, the house was open forever'.22 Written out on the page the proud tribal personality, personified in the meeting-house and obliquely portrayed in oral compositions, was dangerously exposed, and would be more so by the book. The written accumulation of traditions and the issue of public access are highly significant to a history of Māori participation in book production.

Māori literacy and zest for books have been made much of in histories, but D. F. McKenzie's astute review of this reporting demonstrates that much needs re-examination. Little is known of their purchase, use, and opinion of 19th-century books apart from Peter Lineham's careful documentation about the Bible.23- The missionaries wanted Māori to find in the Bible a way out of their culture, and to this end they discouraged access to other books. Māori wanted it as a way into European culture, as Grey had wanted to know theirs. The oral tradition met another of its kind in the Bible: the genealogies, songs, moral stories, and an opaque, lyric mode of telling. But the missionaries were not of a disposition and Māori arguably not sufficiently trained to make a different mythology, another bible, of the oral tradition. This book, however, in generating intellectual, spiritual and political debate over interpretation, gave Māori and Pākehā 'some common roots and shared understandings';24 it entered into the oral tradition and became the model for the manuscript and the later book.

The impact of the book on the oral tradition

In their first century of literature Māori were clearly wise to many aspects of books and to the potential and pitfalls of publishing their highly prized inheritance. But neither they nor others could write manuscripts or publish without alteration to the form, meaning and practices of the oral tradition. Adaptation to the oral texts was not new — Te Rangikāheke's account of the culture hero Māui had that in common with Homer's Odysseus — but it had been slight, conservative, highly patterned, and executed by those in a tribal world and homogeneous culture. Those same texts published by 19th- and 20th-century Māori and Pākehā encompassed a new sphere of reference, and changes to them reached page 7 beyond form and wording to new attitudes to and ways of using them. The European settlers, their language, knowledge and technologies, and the larger world they brought into view, made an impression on content before it reached the book. Conventions of writing and print, different composers and audiences, the portability and distribution of the book, all played a part in the modification. To assess the extent and effects of such alteration I will follow the course of Te Rangikāheke's writing and Grey's books through and alongside subsequent literature.

If we examine how Te Rangikāheke's oral tradition has been put to use in books,25 we find it influential but subject to rather than independent of authors and editors. Comparison of manuscripts with the narratives in Ko nga mahinga, for instance, reveals that Grey greatly edited Te Rangikaheke's and others' writing. He changed words, names, grammar, the order of events; he obscured and excised — especially sexual references.26 Further variation was made by his English edition, Polynesian mythology (1855). Neither Te Rangikāheke's voice nor tribe emerged from books under Grey's name. As D. F. McKenzie cogently argued in Bibliography and the sociology of texts (1986) (in which Māori and Australian aboriginal oral traditions play a part), editorial and typographic practices, read in the context of the social setting, make a considerable impression on the content and reception of a text. Grey's intervention to suit the book was more extensive than any one person's re-creation of a text passed on within the milieu of the tribe. Readers' interpretations altered them again. Grey's Polynesian mythology, long regarded as authoritative, and White's voluminous Ancient history to a lesser extent, underpin New Zealanders' general knowledge of Māori life and thought,27 for they have been the foundation for much of the diverse reworking to English of the oral tradition.

The literature in English offers another measure of the book's impact. It is evidently contrived — a rewriting of myths and legends, ethnographic portraiture, reconstituted tribal history. The book of mythological narratives — of the gods and ancestors in the Polynesian homeland 'Hawaiki', of the canoe voyages to Aotearoa, of encounters with the supernatural, especially in the 19th century — emphasised the romantic and picturesque over the explanatory or educative. Charming, lucid, storybook narration replaced the terse, cryptic and audience-centred originals. Gradual realisation of greater import in the tradition is told by page 8 titles — Edward Tregear's Fairytales and folktales of New Zealand and the South Seas (1891) contrasts with Maori myths and tribal legends (1964) by Antony Alpers whose critical appraisal of the Grey practice led him to versions which accentuated cultural values and the poetry of oral composition.28 In the second half of the 20th century the English literature rendered down the tradition still farther to allusion, occasionally to a new version, and into new genres — novels, short stories, plays and poetry.29

Ethnographies and tribal histories depended on and made an imprint on 19th-century Māori writing. The ethnographies summarised and quoted the ancient lore as evidence of Māori life,30 thereby masking their aesthetic qualities and the functions of the oral texts as Māori used them — in tribal and individual versions for imaginative and entertaining, as well as illustrative and documentary purposes. As the 20th century advanced, anthropologists began to treat the manuscript writers on their own terms: Bruce Biggs in his book Maori marriage (1960) let Te Rangikāheke perform by simply transcribing and translating his engaging narrative of marriage conventions. The tribal histories borrowed from the oral genres but with their linear chronology and encyclopaedic intent could not reflect the situational, episodic, variant oral narratives or convey their complex referentiality.

The language of these books brought the oral tradition to national and international notice but (as Michael Cronin observes in a history of translation in Ireland), while paying tribute to the indigenous language and culture, translation also strengthens the position of English.31 Although they have assisted survival of the language, the books in Māori have not been canonical. As less Māori has been spoken, the English versions have claimed the readership and authenticity. And, in the subtle, impressionable way of books, and because people's faith in them is often greater than deserved, this has led to a shallow appreciation of the traditional knowledge. Another effect of the Māori and English literature was to set that heritage apart from the reality of Māori life.32 Archaeological, facsimile, retrospective, the books press the antiquity of the people and their culture. To the contrary, a distinctive Māori way of life endures and the oral tradition should not be thought archaic. Both languages brought the tradition into print but, although essential to retain the information, Māori do not use page 9 print as the major medium for practice of the tradition. It is not just that many books disappoint, but that they are a poor substitute for speech.

Apirana Ngata, eminent leader of Ngāti Porou, government minister, and promoter of books as guardian of the oral tradition for the future, noted in the 1940s that, although Māori were impressed by print, they preferred to hear words read and to memorise them for 'it was nearer to the old-time narrative of adept raconteurs or of poetical and priestly reciters. More than that, the genius of the race preferred education through the ear, conveyed by artists in intonation and gesticulation'.33 The same is said today. Without voice, performative gesture and an emotional and informed kinship with the speaker, the oral texts lose what — in reference to material symbols which have become codified in societies more ruled by reason — Henri-Jean Martin terms their 'evocative resonance'.34

This goes some way to explain Māori apprehension about, criticism of and lack of interest in the book as repository. The separate, silent, printed text lacks the presence, passion and rhythm of spoken words which evoke and affirm Māori and tribal identity,35 and which keep open the lively possibility of new versions. The contemporary oral tradition persists in rituals at Māori meetings and in the teachings by elders to select pupils; it is reiterated in carving, artwork and landscape. The book cannot quite replace it. These are the felt ideas, but they change as the book's value is reassessed. Ngata's kinsman, Reweti Kohere, lamenting the few Māori books in a preface to his own writing, lauds their value because they allow those who have passed on to speak.36

The physical form of the book and reading also inculcated new thinking in Māori about the traditional knowledge. The Bible offered the first opportunity for a comparison with books of like and different kinds which brought ideas from outside the conventional schooling and fostered objective and individual over subjective and collective opinion. Orality and performance taught a provocative, rhetorical mode of composition aimed at engaging the heart of the listener; literacy and the book played it cool and led, as some scholars of oral tradition claim and others dispute, but which 20th-century books by Māori will exemplify, to a new kind of critical thinking in the making of and response to the book.37

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In a further example of the impact of the book, oral publication depended on and was rendered dramatic by that essential feature of the tradition, poetry. It is not exaggerated, I think, to claim that, amongst other causes, the book served to diminish that poetry. George Steiner, in a treatise on the death of tragedy, makes a relevant point when he writes of a change in western sensibility, 'Verse no longer stands at the centre of communicative discourse. It is no longer, as it was from Homer to Milton, the natural repository of knowledge and traditional sentiment .... Verse has grown private'.38 Martin has writing as the cause of this when he proposes that societies without writing created the most beautiful human songs, inspired by divine rather than temporal power.39 Argument there might be about this, assuredly from poets, but as a reader of Māori oral literature you cannot fail to notice not only how some of the most affecting aspects of the oral delivery are effaced on the page, but also that (even taking into account language loss) literate Māori society produces lesser songs. It is ironic that the power of the public oral text is reduced by the public reach of the book.

Secular, literate organisation of knowledge took charge of both Te Rangikāheke's and Grey's work and irrevocably changed much about the oral tradition. The book, however, ensured the life of some traditions. Paradoxically it obscured Te Rangikaheke's name for some 100 years while it was kept alive in the tribal memory and preserved in his manuscripts. But the book also brought his name and genius back to readers in the 20th century and in a way which might better reflect his intent for a book.

The 20th-century and future book

In this century scholarly editions of annotated translations, a small-book literature,40 the anthropological works, English renditions and diverse fictional writing already mentioned, all go into the library of Māori oral tradition. As in the previous century, the church, government and education stand behind authors and presses. Pākehā continue to publish from the traditions, there is joint publication by Māori and Pākehā of the kind which began with Grey, but notably there is publication by Māori,41 predominantly by those well-versed in literate scholarship as university lecturers, ministers of church or government, tribal elders. Their books, usually of their own tribe, arise from a commitment to page 11 secure and revitalise the language and traditions. But this singular and local desire is matched with approval of a wider readership.

The immense importance of song is given appropriate emphasis in the 20th century and brought the first Māori scholar's book. Apirana Ngata began the formidable task of collection, translation and annotation of the sung poetry that led to the four volumes of Nga moteatea (1959, 1961, 1970, 1990). He published the texts first in the 1920s in a popular Māori journal Te toa takitini , not as hesitation about the book but rather as a strategy to gain information to improve it. As his Preface to the first volume indicates, Ngata's purposes were retention and revival of the songs, but he was also aware of the book's advocacy of this poetry, and he answered anticipated criticism of money-making from the exercise;42 objection to the commercialisation of the traditions sometimes attends a reluctance to publish.. Another Māori scholar, and author of English versions of the traditions, Pei Te Hurinui Jones of Ngāti Maniapoto, completed this work after Ngata's death. They were mediators amongst their own people as they gathered material from elders, books, private and public manuscripts (including Te Rangikāheke's), and selected, edited and censored for the book as Grey had. But their work went farther in elucidating the remarkable diversity, rich poetics and allusiveness in the songs, and in establishing their potential as active oral tradition and artistic literature.

Books of songs from Māori have also arisen out of contemporary practice: Tīmoti Kāretu's dissertation as tutor and composer of the posture dance song Haka (1993), popular songs with performers' interests at heart, a tribal group's collection as dedication to an admired composer.43 Analysis and collection bring translation and commentary by literary historians such as Margaret Orbell, and inclusion in anthologies of New Zealand verse.44 The tradition is retained by such different books as those which Māori compile for their own oral and tribal purposes and those which speak to the world. They are interdependent as sources of information about the songs, and they are also evidence of the diminishment of them and the book's limits as performer.

Books, however, serve crucially as repositories of knowledge as the library gains the edge over memories and manuscripts. And a vital cultural purpose in them is as aid to composers, orators and singers, as in collections of sayings, of the myriad set expressions that are integral to the formulaic character of traditional speech.

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The educative, archival and tribal function of books of sayings is realised in Reweti Kohere's He konae aronui (1951) which he wanted the young and orators to learn from, while Neil Grove and Hirini Moko Mead's series Ngapepeha a nga tupuna (1981), aimed at researchers as much as speakers, is salvaged from the copious literature about Māori.

Prose takes a good share of the book tradition and exemplifies intellectual and stylistic adjustments made in writing the oral. University scholars' editions of manuscripts set a pattern of translated, annotated reproduction, as in Margaret Orbell's Traditional Māori stories (1991) and the grand tribal history Nga iwi 0 Tainui (1995), a combination of Pei Te Hurinui Jones's manuscripts and Professor of Māori language, Bruce Biggs's translation. These are books as relics, and towards the end of the century Māori produce them too. Anaru Reedy's transcription and translation of his ancestor's writings, Ngā korero a Mohi Ruatapu (1993) is one example45 that comes out of a university setting and press. In his introduction, Reedy expresses the hope that others of Ngāti Porou will publish their manuscripts adding, perhaps with a mind to the predominance of books in English and by Pākehā, that it is important for tribes to have access to 'authentic accounts of their own traditions, as recorded by their own writers'. But his vision of the scope and purpose of the book is greater, too, as part of human history:

It is my wish that the great bulk of Ngāti Porou writings should be made available through publication to all of Ngāti Porou, and to all others, as well, who desire to read them. These taonga [valuable possessions] of Ngāti Porou have a crucial importance for our own people, one which I believe will become increasingly apparent in the years that lie ahead. At the same time, it should be recognised that they have great significance as well to many others, Māori and Pākehā, who have a serious interest in traditional Māori thought, religion and society. These writings are part of the literature of Aotearoa. As well as this, along with other Māori writings they form a part of world literature.46

His illustrations — maps of the territory, photos and carvings of ancestors — are explicative for many readers and revive something of the contextual and spatial experience of the oral tradition as it was known to an audience. Although a tribal 'act of retrieval', page 13 Reedy's reproduction of the ancient accounts is not the tradition working in its original way, that is, his own retelling. This, although an oral practice, is very unusual as a book.47

Two books of narratives, one by a Pākehā, one by a Māori, typify the situation at the end of, and likely beyond, the 20th century. I began with Te Rangikāheke's writing on the way to Grey's book, and I now turn to the same work brought to a quite different book. In 1984 Agathe Thornton published a transcription and translation of his accounts of the culture hero Māui, entitled The story of Māui by Te Rangikāheke. Her intention, like Grey's, was to bring Te Rangikaheke's writing into a book, but because of what I would call a shift from autocratic to democratic scholarship, the outcome is very different. Thornton gives back the authorship, voice, tribe and personality to Te Rangikāheke. His text is reproduced without the additions and deletions that Grey preferred. Editorial marks are minor and explicit; interpretative insight illuminates the innovative and traditional in Te Rangikāheke's writing, and the value and beauty of his and the oral texts. The English translation is sensitive to the sound and form of the original.

The second book is Ruka Broughton's Ngaa mahi whakaari a Tiitokowaru (1993), a biographical history of his ancestor, a renowned leader and prophet. Highly regarded as an orator, Broughton's writing proclaims his time in academia. In his introductory chapter he expresses a desire to work the oral style into his written history by including the sayings, songs, genealogy, and incantations which express Māori knowledge.48 In the conclusion he reflects on the difficulties of this because of the very nature of the oral tradition — the many genres, the episodic character of narration, the situational stringing together of diverse texts as opposed to the cumulatively summarising drive and thinking which distinguish written composition.49

Like Te Rangikāheke, Broughton tried to bridge the gap between the oral storyteller and writing historian but the gap had closed over time. He shows a greater awareness than Te Rangikāheke of the implicit agreement between writer and readers, in writing the tribe's history at once for himself and for others who will read it differently. But he is already on the path to the history book of scientific scholarship in taking up the use of references. For this, as Anthony Grafton puts it in his exquisite study of the bookish ornament, the footnote, moves him from the page 14 rhetorical tradition to critical and systematic scrutiny, from narrative composition to reporting. Grafton surely has a Broughton in mind when he writes 'the historian who had eaten from the tree of source-criticism could not regain the innocence needed to write a simple narrative'.50

There is perhaps nothing new in my brief, selective overview of the transition of Māori oral tradition to books that has not been recognised before in other such histories. The association between this oral tradition and the book is circumstantial, shaped by social, political and literary influences. The means to the book has been mediated in distinctive ways by the 19th-century coloniser and Māori scribe, the 20th-century academic and the tribal scholar. There is the thought, borne out by the Māori authors cited, that purpose and teaching lead towards the book and can effect sophisticated authorship rather quickly. There is also the proposition that Māori oral tradition is a long way from being replaced by the book and equally that it depends on it for its preservation if not for its public performance. The contemporary reality remains, however, that the lack of books and interest in them endangers an inheritance of intrinsic value to Māori and a great poetic statement of the Māori view of our humanity.

1 Contributing to such a history are: Michael Jackson, 'Literacy, communications and social change', Conflict and compromise , ed. by I. H. Kawharu (Wellington: A. H. & A. W. Reed, 1975), PP-27-54; D. F. McKenzie, Oral culture, literacy & print in early New Zealand: The Treaty of Waitangi (Wellington: Victoria University Press with the Alexander Turnbull Library Endowment Trust, 1985), and my article in Book & print in New Zealand: A guide to the print culture of Aotearoa , ed. by Penny Griffith, Ross Harvey & Keith Maslen (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1997), pp.17-40.

2 Thus excluding slight books, and oral documentation about custom, crafts, etc.

3 For contemporary views, see 'Foreword: learning and tapu', Te ao hurihuri , ed, by Michael King (Auckland: Methuen, 1975), pp.7-13.

4 H. M. & N. K. Chadwick quoted in Bruce Biggs,'The oral literature of the Polynesians', Te Ao Hou, 49 (1:964), 23-5,42-7.

5 A 1970s survey reported most native speakers over 30 years of age and only two per cent of children with Māori as their first language. A 1995 survey noted a continued decrease in fluent speakers, but an increase in learners.

7 Notably Agathe Thornton, see e.g., Maori oral literature (Dunedin: Otago University Press, 1987).

8 All out of print in 1999. A 3rd edition of Ko nga mahinga a nga tupuna Maori was revised by H. W. Williams in 1929 as Nga main a nga tupuna., the last edition reproduced in 1971. Its English version Polynesian mythology (1855) had several reprints, the last in 1988 under a new tide, Legends of Aotearoa (Hamilton: Silver Fern).

9 See comment in Preface to Polynesian mythology , reproduced in Nga main a nga tupuna (Wellington: A. H. & A. W. Reed, 1971), pp.xi-xvii.

11 Refer Agathe Thornton, Maori oral literature, pp.59ff, 73, 75 and Jenifer Curnow, 'Wiremu Maihi Te Rangikaheke: His life and work', Journal of the Polynesian Society, 2 (1985), 120-3. Norman Simms, Points of contact (New York: Pace University Press, 1991), pp.105-24, reviews such changes in terms of moving from a rhetorical self as oral performer to a central self as writer.

13 Refer discussion by Norman Simms, Points of contact , chapter 4, on the development to a book culture.

15 Māori did contribute traditions to the Māori newspapers (1840S-1930s) and to early volumes of the Journal of the Polynesian Society (1892-).

17 Johannes C. Andersen, White's 'Ancient history of the Maori' (Wellington: Beltane Book Bureau, [1947]), p.i.

18 See in particular Michael Reilly, 'John White: seeking the elusive mohio: White and his Maori informants', p.47. Bookish pursuit of traditions by Pākehā remains suspect to some Māori who regard it as appropriation and it is contentious in discussion of intellectual property rights.

19 See Bruce Biggs and D. R. Simmons, 'The Sources of The lore of the Whare-wānanga", Journal of the Polynesian Society, 79, (1970), 22-42.

20 For this suggestion and some history of the compilation, see D. R. Simmons, 'The words of Te Matorohanga', Journal of the Polynesian Society , 103 (1994), 115-70.

21 J. Prytz Johansen, Studies in Maori rites and myths (Kobenhavn: E. Munksgaard, 1958), p.41. Agathe Thornton gives support to his suggestion in her forthcoming Ancient Maori cosmologies from the Wairarapa.

23 In Bible and society (Wellington: Bible Society in New Zealand, 1996) especially regarding printing, markets and distribution; also 'To make a people of the book' and 'This is my weapon: Maori response to the Maori Bible', in Mission and moko, ed. by Robert Glen (Christchurch: Latimer Fellowship, 1992), pp.152-69, 170-78.

25 Jenifer Curnow lists published editions, 'Wiremu Maihi Te Rangikaheke: His life and work', pp.115-9.

26 Noted by Jenifer Curnow, 'Wiremu Maihi Te Rangikaheke: His life and work', Agathe Thornton, Maori oral literature, pp.74-5,81 and D. R. Simmons, 'The sources of Sir George Grey's Nga mahi a nga tupuna', pp.177-88.

27 See comments by Antony Alpers, Maori myths and tribal legends (Auckland: Longman Paul, 1964), p.23, and Agathe Thornton, Maori oral literature , p. 10.

28 Rewriting by A. W Reed in books from the 1940s to 1970s is a substantial part of this literature, and rare evidence of an authorial desire for it to be valued as part of the national literary heritage.

29 Particularly in Māori writers, e.g., Witi Ihimaera and Patricia Grace, and in children's literature. New media include a comic book of Maui, videos and film.

30 Especially notable in Elsdon Best's work

31 Michael Cronin, Translating Ireland (Cork: Cork University Press, 1996), p.92.

32 Ibid, p. 106; Cronin argues that translation as an act of retrieval suggests the culture is lost.

33 Apirana Ngata, 'The Maori and printed matter', in A history of printing in New Zealand , ed. by R. A. McKay (Wellington: R. A. McKay, 1940), pp.48-9.

34 Henri-Jean Martin, The history and power of writing (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), p.5.

35 On the importance of voiced rhythms as symbols of cultural continuity, see Ahuvia Kahane, 'Hexameter progression and the Homeric hero's solitary state', in Written voices, spoken signs , ed. by Egbert Bakker & Ahuvia Kahane (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press), pp.110-2.

36 Nga korero a Reweti Kohere ma , ed. by Te Ohorere and Wiremu Kaa (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1994), p.7.

37 For discussion of changes in interpretation and readings possible with the text on the page in relation to Homeric epic, see the essays of Andrew Ford and Ahuvia Kahane in Written voices, spoken signs , and to Maori literature, Norman Simms, Points of contact, p.105ff.

38 George Steiner, The death of tragedy (London: Faber & Faber, 1961), p.309.

39 Henri-Jean Martin, The history and power of writing , p.510.

40 Slight books using the oral repertoire, produced locally or privately in small numbers, for instance, to commemorate the opening of a meeting-house, are part of the scope of the book literature. For analysis of examples with regard to Māori literacy and adjustment of their 'non-book knowledge and system of knowledge onto the book', see Norman Simms, Points of contact , especially pp110ff, 138ff.

41 Apart from historical interest in Māori acquisition of literacy, it is a reflection of our unease that talk of the book is often couched in oppositional terms of production by Māori and Pākehā. Māori are anxious about dealing only with their own tribal accounts, Pākehā about dealing appropriately with them rather than as appropriation. A reprint of A. W. Reed's Legends ofRotoma (Auckland: Reed, 1997) expresses such anxiety in a statement on the verso of the title page: 'This book is a facsimile of a book published in 1958, reprinted by popular request. The language and illustrations reflect the attitudes of the time.' It is hard to imagine such a disclaimer on a translation or rewriting of The Odyssey.

42 Apirana Ngata, Nga moteatea , Vol.1 (Wellington: A. H. & A. W. Reed, 1959), pp.riii-xv.

43 For other examples, see my 'Maori literature: a survey' in The Oxford history of New Zealand literature , 2nd ed., ed. by Terry Sturm (Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp.19, 23.

44 For instance, Mervyn McLean and Margaret Orbell, Traditional songs of the Maori ' (Wellington: A.H. & A.W. Reed, 1975), and Ian Wedde & Harvey McQueen, The Penguin book of New Zealand verse (Auckland: Penguin Books, 1985).

45 It was common in the 19th century for the words 'tuhituhi' (writings) or 'pukapuka' (book) to be used in titles of collected writings. This and other recent reproductions prefer 'Ngā kōrero a ...', meaning 'The words of...' — a shift back to an emphasis on speech.

46 Anaru Reedy, Ngā kōrero a Mohi Ruatapu (Christchurch: Canterbury University-Press, 1993), p.10.

47 An example of a new creative gloss is Hirini Moko Mead's Tāwhaki-nui-a-Hema (Auckland: Reed, 1996).

48 Ruka Broughton, Ngaa mahi whakaari a Tiitokowarti (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1993), p.19.

50 Anthony Grafton, The Footnote (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1997), p.68.