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The Maori Race

Preface. — [By the Author.]

page VII

[By the Author.]

So far as the writer is aware, there is no book in circulation treating of the habits and beliefs of the elder Maori people in anything like a condensed or connected form. There are several works in which portions of the subjects are dealt with by early visitors to New Zealand (Yates, Polack, Cruise, Nicolas, and others), but most of these are out of print, and if procurable are unreliable.

The publications of Sir George Grey, Dr. Shortland, and Mr. John White consist almost wholly of traditions and poetry, in which, of course, the customs and the thoughts of the natives are incidentally mentioned, but the reader must know a great deal about the Maoris to properly appreciate the legends, while much of the poetry is untranslated, and probably now untranslatable. Maning's “Old New Zealand” stands alone in its interesting and vivid individuality, but is sketchy, and only covers a small portion of the ground. The writings of other experts, such as Rev. Messrs. Colenso, Hammond, H. W. Williams and Wohlers, Right Rev. Bishop Williams, Colonel Gudgeon, Captain Gilbert Mair, Sir Walter Buller, Canon Stack, Judge Wilson, Messrs. S. Percy Smith, Elsdon Best, Charles Nelson, S. Locke, J. Cowan, H. M. Stowell, A. Shand, etc., etc., are scattered through Transactions and Journals of Societies, Reviews, Pamphlets, Reports, etc., etc., and by their dispersion are inaccessible to anyone but a patient collector and student. Mr. A. Hamilton's beautiful work on “Maori Art” is too large and expensive to be available to the general reader.

page VIII

Therefore, the present book is issued in the hope that the settler, the anthropologist, and the tourist may be enabled to gain more understanding and appreciation of the brave and generous people who were once the lords of “The Fortunate Isles.”