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Te Rou, or, The Maori at Home


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This volume is intended to be the first of a series designed to illustrate, or rather to exhibit, in as truly a lifelike form as possible, the Maori of the pre-civilisation period.

Having lived from his youth amongst the Maories, the writer has had peculiar opportunities of becoming acquainted with their modes of thought and expression, with their eveeryday life, their legends, their mythology, and even with their sacred language, incantations, and rites, now known only to their few old “tohungas,” or priests. To embalm the knowledge so acquired of a highly developed yet savage race, fast disappearing, has been the object of the writer.

The tale contained in the present volume is not fiction. Though woven together in the form of a tale, as that most convenient for lifelike representation, the places mentioned are all real, as may be seen on the accompanying map; the incidents are all true, and have occurred; the personages are all real, though the names have been slightly altered to avoid unnecessary offence to the living; the native mode of expression has been carefully followed; and the songs, proverbs, and incantations are trustworthy (though, perhaps, in some respects imperfect) reproductions of the ancient originals.

The series of volumes will comprise within it the page vi Maori legends of the Creation of Man and of the Flood; of the qualities and uses of created things, and of the rites and ceremonies connected with each; of the origin of the gods, their powers, attributes, and agency; of the incantations, rites, and ceremonies by which these gods may be invoked and appeased; of the original home of the people, and their migrations up to their arrival in New Zealand; and of the transformations of man, the abode of spirits, and the final extinction of the soul.

Each volume will be complete in itself, exhibiting special characteristics of the Maori character.

The present volume, or tale, exhibits truthfully the everyday life, habits, and character of the pre-civilisation Maori; and as such may be accepted by scientific men as a contribution towards a knowledge of the past from one who, having no pretensions to scientific acquirements, writes from a personal knowledge and observation of the accuracy of the information conveyed.

The writer acknowledges with pleasure the assistance afforded him in explaining native names of plants and birds by the valuable works of Dr. Hooker ‘On the Flora,’ and of Dr. Buller ‘On the Birds of New Zealand.’

John White

Grafton Road, Auckland, 1874.