Volume 84 1975 > Volume 84, No. 4 > Reviews, p 495-529
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BARRINGTON, J. M. and T. H. BEAGLEHOLE: Maori Schools in a Changing Society. An Historical Review. Wellington, New Zealand. Council for Educational Research, 1974. 290 pp. Price (N.Z.) $8.00.

Inspection of the latest bibliography of New Zealand education 1 under the heading of the education of the Maori, and more specifically Maori schools, reveals numerous articles, reports and theses, but a surprising paucity of books depicting the general history and development of Maori schooling. The only substantial book before the volume under review seems to be Maori and Education edited by P. M. Jackson in 1931, 2 though D. G. Ball contributed a lengthy chapter on Maori education in Sutherland's The Maori People Today, 3 and H. B. Holst wrote his review, “The Education of Maori Children” in 1971. 4 In filling this gap, Drs Barrington and Beaglehole have rendered a singular service to the cause of historical literature in the field of New Zealand education; this detailed and thoroughly researched study is timely not only because of the recent interest, even controversy, over official policies on Maori education, but also because it provides the first authoritative book on the history of Maori education and schooling policies.

The book traces the development of Maori schooling from the opening by Thomas Kendall on August 12 1816 of the first missionary school at Rangihoua in the Bay of Islands, through to the phasing out of the Maori schools by February 1, 1969 and their transfer to the control of education boards. The high and the low points of Maori education, during this period of over 150 years, are depicted in a scholarly manner and with meticulous detail, as both authors wrote their master's theses on historical aspects of Maori education, together covering the years from 1816 to 1940. Their historical review is such worthwhile reading because of the many items treated with clarity and an impressive attention to factual detail: the work of Sir George Grey and others in assisting financially the educational work of the missions through legislative measures; the establishment of non-denominational village primary schools and the ultimate development of a national system of “Native” education as it was named in the nineteenth century; the pioneering, outstanding work as inspector of Maori schools of James Pope, who was held in such veneration that the generic term for inspector (Te Popi) was coined out of his name; and the renewed development of denominational boarding schools towards the end of the nineteenth century and into the present century. The transition from an assimilationist policy, adhered to since Grey's day, to a more realistic and far-reaching approach cognisant of the importance to the Maori of his own culture and way of life, is well brought out by concentrating on official documents and relevant literature. Particularly well - 496 portrayed is the constructively understanding part played by D. G. Ball as senior inspector of native schools, assisted by men with long experience in these Schools, such as T. A. Fletcher and W. Parsonage, in implementing the much more sensible policy of helping the Maori child adapt to the European world in which he was growing up without losing his sense of cultural heritage; the reader realises the debt of gratitude owed to the sympathetic outlook of men like Ball.

In spite of the overall sense of pleasing satisfaction resulting from reading the book, a few critical observations can be made. In chapter two, when discussing missionary schools, more could have been said about the Waimate mission station in the Bay of Islands and the schools in the neighbourhood, some 17 or 18, about which there is an interesting chapter in the National Historic Places Trust publication 5 which seemingly escaped the attention of the writers.

There is an adequate review of the period from 1955, when a representative committee was set up with Ball as chairman and, astonishingly, six Maoris as members — the first occasion on which Maoris had been members of an official national committee specifically set up to discuss the education of Maori children — through to the end of the separate system in early 1969. However the treatment of this period does suffer proportionately when one considers the amount of space accorded to earlier periods, especially the nineteenth century. It is true that the further back in history one goes, the better the perspective becomes, but it remains a criticism of the book that there is some inequality in treatment.

In their survey of the period from 1930 onwards, the authors have quite surprisingly omitted to refer to an unpublished M.A. thesis written by P. D. K. Ramsay at Victoria University. 6 There may be a reason for this and it is true that in the preface they make the fine distinction that the book is about Maori schools and not Maori education in a general sense, but Ramsay's thesis surveys the period from 1936 to 1968, concerning itself with planning, policy and practice in Maori education. The coverage is thorough and contains material that could have been commented upon in the book, and to me this seems a notable omission from the literature consulted.

The book is attractively produced and features 44 illustrations of illuminating historical interest. In addition, the tables and figures add to the impact of the writing in producing a clear, compact, historical picture of the development of Maori schooling. There are a few minor errors. On p. 238, first line, Dr. S. N. Mead should read Dr. S. M. Mead, and at the bottom of the same page, footnote 19, Grey should read Gray; on p. 248, footnote 65, the date of J. K. Hunn's report should be 1961, not 1966.

There is no bibliography, although, in line with recent N.Z.C.E.R.'s policy, the book is extensively footnoted and fully indexed. Satisfactory as this may be, the provision of a bibliography would have saved much cross-checking and turning-over of pages, and, though the rationale for this policy is appreciated, it is suggested that the New Zealand Council for Educational Research consider the inclusion of bibliographies in its publications.

The late Professor R. H. Tawney once stated that educational history is always and everywhere social history. This point is well illustrated in this book where the interplay and interconnection of an amalgam of social factors — political, economic and religious — influencing the history of Maori schooling are carefully and clearly delineated to make this publication a worthwhile addition to the growing body of literature dealing with the history of New Zealand education.

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  • EDUCATION DEPARTMENT, 1971. “The Education of Maori Children: a Review.” Wellington, Education Dept., Schools Publication Branch. Education publication 20:4.
  • JACKSON, Patrick Montague (ed.), 1931. Maori and Education. Wellington, Ferguson and Osborn.
  • RAMSAY, Peter Douglas Kenneth, 1969. Planning, Policy and Practice in Maori Education 1936-1968. Unpublished M.A. thesis, Victoria University, Wellington.
  • ROTH, Herbert A., 1964. Bibliography of New Zealand Education. Wellington, New Zealand Council for Educational Research.
  • SUTHERLAND, Ivan Lorin George (ed.), 1946. The Maori People Today. Wellington, Whitcombe & Tombs.
  • STANDISH, Michael Wordsworth, 1962. The Waimate Mission Station. Wellington, Government Printer.

BEST, Elsdon: The Stone Implements of the Maori. Reprint of 1912 Dominion Museum Bulletin No. 4. Wellington, Government Printer, 1974. 445 pp., plates. Price (N.Z.) $10.50.

The National Museum has begun the reprinting of the works of its former ethnologist, Elsdon Best. They were published as the bulletins of the Dominion Museum between 1912 and 1942, as well as the previously unpublished Bulletin 11, Maori Religion and Mythology, Section 2. The 11 volumes are to appear over a three-year period. Their reissue will be greatly appreciated by students of the Maori, since they have been almost impossible to obtain in recent years.

The temptation simply to produce a photo-mechanical reprint, as has increasingly become the practice lately, has been resisted. The volume has been completely reset, and the format changed to that adopted in the later bulletins of the series, so that the reprint set will be of a uniform size. Other deviations from the original are minor. There are a few typographical errors (Moari p. 46, haonga p. 102), while the printing of the fold-out (Plate XLIV) at a reduced size is a justiflable economy. Because of the resetting, the pagination differs from the original, a fact which will no doubt cause some bibliographical problems in the future.

It is inevitable, and desirable, that the reissue of these works should cause a re-examination of the position of Best in the history of New Zealand ethnology. Best saw his role as explaining aspects of Maori culture that he knew well to the population at large, and he attempted to achieve this principally through his prolific writings for the newspapers of the day. An assessment of his success in this sphere is beyond the scope of this review. But it is extremely unlikely that the general public Best was writing for could, or can, achieve much understanding of “the Maori as he was” from the bulletins. Stone Implements is hard to read and hard to use. Its sections are not well organised, and contain a great deal of repetition. The illustrations which were the work of the then-director of the Dominion Museum, Augustus Hamilton, are very poor and are badly related to the text.

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Best was not, however, writing in this bulletin solely for the general public. He was in communication with a number of leading anthropologists in Europe and America, as well as being a prominent member of the group of New Zealand scholars who were interested in the Maori. This group was enthusiastic in its reception of Stone Implements. H. D. Skinner, in his review for this journal, hailed it as “the finest monograph on Maori technology that has yet appeared”, although he was rather disparaging about the illustrations. The New Zealand Institute awarded Best the Hector medal in 1914, for the contribution that the bulletin made.

Yet it is notable that in all the proliferation of studies of Maori and Polynesian adzes that have appeared in the intervening years, Best's work is referred to simply as an interesting sidelight, if it is referred to at all. Even Skinner, in spite of his laudatory review, made no reference to Stone Implements in his own studies of adzes.

This curious fact is explained when the interests of the later writers are compared with those of Best. The adze has been used, in the supposed absence of pottery, as a type fossil for cultural horizons, to trace the origins and inter-relationships of the Polynesians. Best's work does not lend itself to this taxonomic purpose, since his interest was in the descriptions of the manufacture and function of the adze. His attempts at a classification are only rudimentary, and are based on such information as he was able to obtain on the classification used by the Maori themselves. In several of his papers, Skinner, whose interest in adzes has always been more descriptive than taxonomic, expresses enthusiasm for the idea of a classification by use, but considers that this is impossible because of a lack of information. Stone Implements probably does not contain enough information to provide an emic classification of Maori adzes.

However, the days when prehistoric studies were concerned almost solely with the typology of artefacts have now passed. Interest in the activities and economics of prehistoric people has greatly increased. In the past few years in New Zealand there has been a proliferation of studies of the protohistoric period, and of such records as are available concerning the Maori way of life in the prehistoric. This has resulted in considerable attention being paid to the works of Best, the only ethnographer to have worked with the Maori. The reprinting of these bulletins will make readily available a wealth of information on various aspects of Maori life. In particular, it is to be hoped that the reappearance of Stone Implements will encourage the examination of Maori adzes as more than type fossils.

BROOKFIELD, H. C.: Colonialism, Development and Independence: the Case of the Melanesian Islands. Cambridge, University Press, 1972. xvii, 266 pp., figs, maps, tables. Price (U.K.) £4.80, (U.S.) $16.50.

Many historians, social scientists, churchmen and administrators have given us their particular accounts of the white man's entry into Melanesia and the rationale for it, but seldom with the breadth or perception of its effects on the indigenous societies of Brookfield's exhaustive account. His main contentions are that colonialism and independence are opposing forces which persist throughout the whole period of interaction between local and invading interests; that - 499 both are revolutionary in intent, if not always in achievements; that the recipient society is never passive and reaction inevitably sets in, and that as political colonialism is phasing out, its shrewd and clever twin brother, neo-colonialism, is fast gaining control as the ruler in Melanesia. While there is widespread with-drawal of political control, “ . . . the economic colonialism of organized business has achieved greater strength than ever before during this very period of decolonization” (p. 4).

In succeeding chapters Brookfield shows how Western colonialism as a revolutionary force has sought, and still seeks, to transform indigenous or “residentiary” societies and economies so as to link them to a world-wide system dominated from without; he also shows how the residentiary society has reacted and is still reacting to the continual invasion.

The author distinguishes three phases of colonialism, namely the “early colonial age”, characterised by penetration by, and the establishment of, the basic structures of the invading system. Next comes the period of “high colonialism” in which major transformations of the residentiary complex take place under the dominance of external agencies. Finally, the third stage sees the growth of the public sector, to regulate the complex relationships which have resulted from that constant interaction. Political independence, incidentally, comes usually at some stage in this period.

One of the first among many of the fatal impacts of the western invasion on the Melanesian societies discussed by Brookfield was that of depopulation caused by introduced diseases. The only exception, according to the author, was inland New Guinea. The labour trade, which began about the 1850s, was an aspect of foreign exploitation of both natural and human resources. Labour was imported from Melanesia to Australia and from other Melanesian islands into Fiji and New Caledonia. Residentiary labour was too hard to control, for if local workers felt they were unfairly treated they could “slip away too easily . . . unwilling to work for the low wages offered.” (p. 33).

Labour was always a problem, both because of short supply and because it was, is and will remain a sensitive and thinking resource. But land was never a problem. It was alienated freely and easily because the Melanesians did not know the rules of the game; there could be no resistance of guns or trickery.

The Melanesia of 1905-1920 was already much influenced by decisions of the metropolitan Powers. In 1906, Britain decided to transfer its colony of Papua to Australian administration; and at the outbreak of World War One, the Imperial Government asked Australia to occupy German New Guinea. This was part of the British policy of devolution of imperial responsibility among the new dominions. Accordingly, backed by Britain, in 1919 “Australia moved swiftly to remove the German system root and branch from New Guinea and balked only at the missions” (p. 65). France backed French enterprise in New Caledonia and the New Hebrides.

In Australia, Sydney was established as the epicentre of business and commerce to and from the islands. All ships had to be operated from and through Sydney. A Navigation Act required that all cargo to New Guinea be carried in Australian vessels, except by special licence that was not readilly given (p. 67). Such self interest of Australian mercantilism tied (and still ties) the economy of the Melanesian regions to Australian and New Zealand sources.

In the cut-throat competition in the New Hebrides the French claimed 52 percent of usable land, the British 11 percent and only 37 percent, most of which is much less fertile, was left to the native New Hebrideans. Apart from the disregard and disrespect the colonialists had for the local people, the struggle - 500 for control in the New Hebrides revealed strong jealousies among the metropolitan powers which persist today.

In contrast to the rest of Melanesia, the Solomons and West New Guinea were affected little. They were unable to attract much capital and labour. The Solomons Government never permitted the importation of cheap Asian labour, and does not seem to be any worse off without having had it.

The economic depression of the 1930s was an impetus to adopt more efficient production methods. It also gave birth to new companies whose control was concentrated in few hands, and forced the colonial governments to become more directly involved in the islands' economies. Officials came to help their fellow planters and traders out of the rut of depression, granting them loans and protecting their interests with wage legislation that directly went against the welfare of the indigenous labourers. As there were no minerals in the New Guinea Highlands, all that the colonialists exploited was the abundant unskilled labour. So began the Highlands Labour Scheme which was finally formalised in the 1950s, but which became a cause of friction and was finally abandoned in mid-1974.

Brookfield gives a good account of the Melanesians' traumatic experience of the Pacific war. Never before had they seen so much material wealth — the number of ships in the port, planes in the skies, the enormous amount of consumer goods that the soldiers lavished around; even the number of men was startling. No wonder some Melanesians were led to beliefs in cargo cultism. Many Melanesians were employed by both sides as carriers, informants and auxiliaries. The Fiji Infantry Regiment and the Tongans fought side by side with the Allied forces in the Solomons and Bougainville. It is to be regretted that in a book about Melanesia, Brookfield is only able to devote two sentences to the contribution made by what he himself calls the “effective Fijian force”.

Perhaps the greatest single impact of the war on the Melanesians was the experiencing of a marked contrast of attitudes towards them by the soldiers, who were “more friendly and less domineering” than the previous colonial administrators and others. This was especially noticeable among the American troops “among whom were considerable numbers of Black soldiers” (p. 94). The army was seen as the model organisation for progress.

At this time the trend of thought on the future of colonies was undergoing radical change and ultimate independence now became the long-term objective to which the United Nations gave whole-hearted support. Unfortunately, there are still some hard-headed and egocentric colonialists who do not beleive in this basic human right.

In chapter nine, the author focuses our attention on the “pacesetter”, the Australian administration of New Guinea under Sir Paul Hasluck, the Minister for Territories in the Menzies Government (1951-63). Brookfield describes his reign as “gradualism and enlightened paternalism in political affairs”. To achieve his objective of “uniform development”, the Minister considered it necessary to retard economic and social progress in the “advanced” coastal regions and to accelerate the progress in the interior.

Power was concentrated in the minister's hands in Canberra, but this contributed to the great measure of failure in the policies, for the coastal region is still far ahead of the highlands.

This same question of equity versus efficiency had also become a problem in the other areas in Melanesia. In Dutch New Guinea, the Dutch tried to concentrate on areas of quick return, though not abandoning the backward interior. But as soon as the Indonesian Government took control in 1963, the equity principle was completely disregarded in favour of efficiency.

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In Fiji this same problem existed, but along ethnic lines. The main participants in the cash economy were Indo-Fijians and Europeans, while the Melanesian Fijians shared it only in a limited way, as landlords to the Indian tenants.

The post-war development strategies have concentrated on exports to enhance the foreign exchange needed to import goods and services. This policy also has led the local economies to become over-dependent on foreign sources (creating a “mentality of dependence on remote and powerful buyers” (p. 106)).

The end of gradualism in Australian-controlled New Guinea was stimulated and accelerated by external events. Just over the border in West Irian (West New Guinea) the Indonesians were hustling about, establishing a university and building up their military forces so that the Australian administration became concerned about a possible Indonesian invasion. Hence, the change of pace in development in East New Guinea which, even if it looked altruistic on the surface, was a tactic to protect Australia from confrontation on her own soil. So Australia built up an indigenous military force in New Guinea, using New Guinea as a buffer state of Australia.

In the wave of rapid changes towards independence two reactions by the indigenous people and their leaders become prevalent. Firstly, the reluctance to lose the certainties of external rule is replaced by a growing impatience to be rid of the colonial masters (p. 110). Secondly, the newly independent governments seem to want to perpetuate the colonial boundaries.

In the eleventh chapter, the author exposes the great economic dependence that Melanesia is subjected to, especially on Britain, France, Australia, Japan and the United States. The most obvious agents of these foreign Powers are the banks. Private export of capital takes place, but even the credit these banks and recently arrived finance companies make available has been used for the import of consumption goods by European, Indo-Fijian and Chinese merchants. Credit has also been made available to producers of export goods (who are mainly Europeans) and to producers of goods for import substitution (again mainly expatriates).

Mining has grown in importance. Because it favours massive scale operations, it became open mainly to international companies. “Airline colonialism” and the tourist industry are also examples of this over-dependence on foreign capital. Brookfield warns countries that seem to easily fall in love with these giant suckers like the tourist industry that in the West Indies, less than 30 percent of the income from tourism remains in the host country, race relations deteriorate because of the great disparities in wealth and resentment at the behaviour of a small group of visitors, and the majority of the population “participate in a peripheral and mainly in a servile capacity” (p. 135).

How dependent on foreign capital is Melanesia? It would not be an exaggeration to generalise from the words of Fiji's Prime Minister, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara:

. . . that if the nation's capital and chief industrial centre, Suva, were burned to the ground, the Melanesian Fijians would lose nothing but the records of their debts.

What should Melanesia do to get out of this rut? Brookfield gives only two alternatives. One is greater regional economic integration and greater regional cooperation through such organisations as SPEC (The South Pacific Bureau for Economic Cooperation) and the South Pacific Forum. Secondly, he suggests the the creation of a mixed economy.

In chapter twelve the author redirects our attention to the post-colonial composition of Melanesian societies. Present Melanesian societies are pluralistic - 502 by culture, language, religion, skin colour, or socially by wealth and status. One marked distinction is between indigenous Melanesians, Asians and Europeans. Pluralism, the author shows, causes both unity and disunity, harmony and conflict.

The Melanesian reaction is a vital part of Brookfield's main contention, and earns a whole chapter. The assumptions he makes are three: that Melanesians are “boundedly rational” men, that is, fully rational within the bounds of the world they see and perceive; that they seek to order their environment in terms of things they can understand, and that their aspirations may include power which “entails a struggle to find a viable place in this wider world, and an identity that has dignity” (p. 160).

The reaction of the Melanesian to external invasion has assumed different forms: cargo cult movements, the present-day tenacity to land, and economic and political protests. Cargo cultism is “the search for a rationale to explain the state of under-development and dependency, and for means to command a road out of this condition” (p. 164). The present-day tenacity to land is a reaction against the mass alienation of land in the past (because land gives security and a point of reference).

Even as he is approaching independence the Melanesian is cautious, and halfhearted about taking the plunge, because of the security that the external power is deemed to bestow as against the “incompetence” that the Melanesian is told and forced to believe that he possesses. But the Melanesian must weigh these hangovers of colonialism against the “self-respect” of independence.

The Melanesian countries came to regard themselves as part of the family of “Third World” nations, but even as a united force, Third World countries find it difficult to bargain with the giant multi-national corporations, often backed by their national governments. Also the so-called “aid” (for example, from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the academic aid given by such countries as Australia and New Zealand) ties the receiving country down to very limited areas of political action, and colonialist exploitation of the weak goes on, but always in a more sophisticated manner.

In reaction, the Third World activists are resorting to radical solutions, such as sequestration of enterprise and nationalisation (with or without compensation). But the benefits of outright nationalisation are minimal; the author suggests it is better to seek a larger share in equity.

Brookfield's last chapter suggests that higher education will remedy the defects and cure the difficulties of independent Melanesia. I say yes, educational institutions can be an answer but only if the educational system is drastically modified in its aims and objectives to coincide with the needs and aspirations of the Melanesian people. At present higher education is still geared to perpetuating the old colonialism (writ large) because the elites are schooled and indoctrinated with Western concepts. They do not care about what happens to the rest of their countrymen.

Brookfield considers “national unity” of the former colony to be essential, but the future stability of Papua New Guinea as a nation will depend to a large extent on the degree to which some powers are delegated to the small political units (the districts). To centralise a government would be a threat to national stability.

The author also implies that the role of the army is very important, especially for forging national unity. Frankly, I think, the army in Melanesia is a luxury and a threat to the freedom of a civilian government. In this world of nuclear power and nuclear bombs a small army is but economic suicide.

Brookfield closes by reiterating his major contention, that colonialism and - 503 independence are not states occupying discrete blocks of time, but are continuously conflicting forces. “Independence has meaning only in the face of colonialism” (p. 205).

The book merits high praise and we need to constantly bear in mind the main message, that despite the apparent triumph of Melanesians in achieving independence, they are far less free than before: “It is the rules of the game that have changed, but the game itself continues” (p. IX).

I would most warmly commend this book to all persons interested in politics, economics, and Pacific history; I would most particularly commend it to the leaders of our Pacific countries. It will give them abundant food for thought.

FIRTH, Raymond: Rank and Religion in Tikopia. A Study in Polynesian Paganism and Conversion to Christianity. London, George, Allen and Unwin, 1970. 424 pp., figs., tables, plates. Price (U.K.) $5.00.

By now many thousands of anthropology majors and graduates have read, have said they have read, or were supposed to have read We, the Tikopia. In one report on the effectiveness of anthropology teaching in U.S. colleges, too gloomy to remember in detail, Raymond Firth was one of the few names of anthropologists that 50 percent of the students could remember after three years of courses. I mention that only to introduce the confession that I have always found that classic of total ethnography a difficult book to read and an even more difficult book to hold in one's mind. I groan at my inability to rise above the particularities and to make easy, relevant, structured comparisons with other Polynesian societies. I know my students need to be confronted with what is different, and, in their eagerness to make structural generalisations, to be immersed in the concrete, but I sympathise with the difficulties they find in knowing the Tikopia.

With Rank and Religion in Tikopia matters are different. The volume is explicitly concerned with a strangely neglected topic of Polynesian anthropology — the processes and dynamics of religious conversion — and it is the product of 40 years of theoretical reflection on the nature of religion, ritual and symbol. It is still unrelenting in the fullness of its descriptive detail. There are about 300 pages of ethnography of Tikopian paganism, its theogony, theology, theography. It offers, with a wealth of sensitivity, observations on religious concepts, roles, rituals and symbols, whose richness simply cannot be matched in Polynesian anthropology, save in Firth's own works. It makes only the slightest nod in the direction of other Polynesian societies, but to those bred to the fragile details of historical sources on societies long dead, Firth's uncovering of the subtleties of Tikopian concepts of atua, the fulness of his descriptions of the ritual of kava and his exploration of the complex relation between the material and spiritual environment alert one to the barrenness of all previous discussions of Polynesian religion.

Perhaps the most valuable element in the book, for which the ethnography of Tikopian paganism is a preliminary, is Firth's analysis of the processes of conversion on Tikopia. Elsewhere in Polynesia the attack by christianity on paganism has been head-on, accompanied by social trauma and sectarian division. Sometimes conversion has been dramatised in ritual overthrow of older - 504 systems, sometimes the new religion is incapsulated in the civilising processes of work and trade that are meant to be its trigger. Sometimes the Word, written or spoken, has been the key to European forms of knowledge, and conversion has been the pursuit of the cargo of reading and writing. Sometimes the trade has been more simple and direct — a shirt for a credo, work for a neophyte. But always —in Tahiti, Hawaii, Marquesas, Rarotonga, Tonga — there has been personal and social disarray as one fundamental belief system has been replaced with another.

In Tikopia the changes were more gentle. Anglican evangelicalism seemed milder in its demands, more selective in its conservatism, more worldly in its other-worldliness and more balanced in its presentation of both word and ritual. The merger is as syncretic as the original Tikopian religion.

Interestingly enough, in a work which confronts both christianity and paganism in Tikopia, Firth feels it necessary to proclaim several times his own humanism and defends his right to be both involved and aloof in religious study. It is as if the relativism of a study of religious changes necessitates a self-definition. Or perhaps an ethnographer, no matter how agnostic, finds it especially difficult to divorce himself from the cultural forms of which a cultural religion is an expression. In that sense in Rank and Religion there is an uneven distribution of the intensity of Firth's interests. The ethnography of the rituals and belief systems of Tikopian christianity, the descriptions of the conceptualisation of Christian dogma and morality and the inventories of new religious words are far less developed than for Tikopian paganism, and the statistical data of church attendance and rites de passage become proportionately more important.

If one wants to see the symbolisation of both paganism and christianity, or to see the ways in which social metaphors change and remain the same, or if one wants an example for one's students of a masterful balance of specific and general, of description and theory, of ethnography and anthropology, then I should think Firth's Rank and Religion is the most significant of his Tikopian series.

GAST, Ross H. and Agnes C. Conrad: Don Francisco de Paula Marin. Honolulu, The University Press of Hawaii for the Hawaiian Historical Society, 1973. x, 344 pp., maps, plates. Price (U.S.) $8.50.

Francisco de Paula Marin was a notable minor figure in the early recorded history of European settlement in Hawaii. He was a Spaniard, born in 1774 in Jerez de la Frontera, the sherry capital of Andalusia. He arrived in Hawaii when he was nineteen or twenty, a deserter from the Spanish navy at Nootka, on the north-west coast of America. In his early years as a settler, he made a few trips away on trading vessels. Otherwise, he lived in Hawaii for more than 40 years —until his death in 1837. Marin was thus a witness to Hawaii's transformation from an isolated pagan society to a Christian society with ever-increasing contact with the outside world.

Marin was known to the Hawaiians as Manini. He was a man of many trades. As a fluent speaker of Hawaiian, he acted as the king's interpreter and adviser, and was frequently the first person to make contact with visiting dignitaries. - 505 He was a trader, ships' victualler, royal physician and a distiller who provided the king and his retinue with their daily supply of spirits. He was also a skilful horticulturist, who had a hand in the cultivation of many of the first plants to be introduced to Hawaii by Europeans. Yet another of his achievements was his contribution to Hawaii's birth rate. He had at least three wives and 23 children whose births can be documented.

Although not a well-educated man, Marin was sufficiently literate and interested in what went on around him to keep a journal in his native Spanish. The whereabouts of this document, if it still exists, is unknown. But an English translation of what was probably only a part of it has been preserved and is now published for the first time. The journal covers the period from November 14 1809 to August 3, 1826. As published, the journal is preceded by a 154-page biography of Marin by Ross H. Gast, an agricultural journalist, who first became interested in his subject in 1936 when he was connected with the agricultural extension service of the University of Hawaii. Sixty-six of Marin's letters that have survived are also published. These and the journal are annotated by Miss Agnes C. Conrad, Hawaii State archivist.

Gast explains that Marin's journal disappeared some time after 1850, “before it could be evaluated properly,” and that what has survived are only brief translated extracts made by Robert Crichton Wyllie. These, he says, are “not always in Marin's own words”. Gast, however, does not indicate how he knows this. Nor does he explain who Wyllie was — that he was a Scottish surgeon, who settled in Hawaii and became minister of foreign affairs after making a fortune in South America. It was presumably in South America that Wyllie learned Spanish.

Gast's oversight in recording these details is indicative of a lack of thoroughness and savoir faire in producing his biography of Marin. Thus, we are told, for example, that recent research in the archives of Mexico and Spain has revealed the first “solid facts” about Marin's early life, and that much more could undoubtedly be learned from these sources. One wonders, therefore, why Gast did not delve into these archives more deeply, considering that his information on Marin's first 20 years easily fits into a single short paragraph. Gast is similarly content to rely on information from secondary sources when he could easily have gone to primary material. Thus, he did not consult the journals of the French explorer Freycinet or his wife even though they both met Marin in Hawaii in 1819. A further defect of the biography is that no effort has been made to place Marin in his period except through the writings of those visitors and residents who wrote specifically about him. Overall, it is therefore a disappointingly pedestrian piece of work, although it no doubt contains every important scrap of information on Marin so far discovered.

Marin's journal itself contains few entries of more than a dozen or so words. These concern his personal, domestic and commercial life, and life in Hawaii in general. Many of the entries have a Pepysian flavour. Thus, one reads on the first page that Marin sent a man to the island of Hawaii who had been caught in bed with his wife; that Kamehameha I had been out fishing with Marin and had presented him with a fish; and that a boy and a woman had been killed as sacrifices to be buried along with a female chief who had died. Further on, the journal records that there were 23 tabu days between December 6, 1809 and February 18, 1810; that on August 24, 1811 Queen Ka'ahumanu had her menses; and that on December 10, 1811 “the god” had arrived from “Guayquiqui”, that this marked the beginning of the Hawaiian new year and that the islanders “played at boxing.” Yet further along, as Hawaii grew less isolated from the outside world, the journal often has the appearance of a list of ships' - 506 arrivals and departures interspersed with commercial notes and commentaries on affairs of state.

Marin's journal will undoubtedly provide scholars of Hawaii's early history with numerous useful clues to this and that. Its value as a research tool has been greatly enhanced by Miss Conrad's well-informed annotations. However, Miss Conrad could not identify a sizeable number of the visiting sea captains mentioned in the journal, which indicates that much research remains to be done on Hawaii's early mercantile history.

An idiosyncrasy of the journal is that Marin wrote all proper names in phonetic Spanish. Thus Waikiki is Guayquiqui, Kaahumanu is Cajumanu, Craimocu is Kalinimoku, Cayrua is Kailua, etc. The phonetic renderings have been retained in the present publication, but present-day spellings have been added in parentheses where known. For anyone familiar with the pronunciation of Andalusian Spanish, Marin's renderings have some linguistic value in that they give a clue to the pronunciation of Hawaiian in his time.

IHIMAERA, Witi: Pounamu, Pounamu. Auckland and London, Heinemann, 1972. 132 pages, n.p.

There is a certain style of New Zealand short story — a type which used to appear in university student publications and short lived “little magazines” — which is marked by its theme of bitter-sweet memory of rural beginnings and the backward glance for lost innocence; by nostalgia. Of such are the early stories which make up Mr Ihimaera's first published volume.

The writer suffuses the quaint ways and poignant happenings of country life with the golden glow of childhood remembered; there is the frequent use of folk idiom and, for the sake of immediacy, the use of the retrospective present, to remind us that here we are being told of the author's deeply-felt experience. On such dangerous ground it is hardly surprising that the stories hover on the edge of sentiment and frequently sink without trace. Few of Mr Ihimaera's readers will care.

When a writer ventures into the tradition of English writing, even in so paltry a vehicle as the review, he must expect to be judged by the standards of that tradition. In Mr Ihimaera's case this has already happened. Those reviewers who have seen fit to suggest that these stories assemble insignificant details to make from them nothing of significance, that the characters are too lovable by half, and that the folk language with its carefully unitalicised Maori phrases sounds about as authenitc as stage Irish, have been suitably ignored, even castigated, as ethnocentric snobs, in a wave of general enthusiasm which would be offensive were it not so well meant, for New Zealand's first recognisably Maori writer.

The foregoing paragraphs demonstrate one way to review Mr Ihimaera's book, a way that is quite legitimate and which leads to an analysis of the stories, testing them along those dimensions which are appropriate to literary criticism. A different approach, one more to the tastes of the readers of this Journal, might be to examine the ethnographic content and estimate its authenticity. It is more profitable than either, however, to consider the social location of Mr Ihimaera's writing, for Pounamu, Pounamu is, after all, a new kind of social phenomenon, or, at least, the forerunner of one.

- 507

One aspect of the social location is the audience, the adulatory and unintentionally patronising Pakeha public which is thirsty, just now, for a deep draft of ethnicity. There is another audience, unanalysable so far, which consists of the Maoris who can measure, from direct experience, both the meaning and authenticity of Mr Ihimaera's writing. This audience, though it has been largely corrupted by exposure to Pakeha sentimentalising, has not been completely so. It is the one to which Mr Ihimaera must listen.

The other aspects are related to the self-conscious Maoritanga of a new generation of young men and women who began to enter the universities and teachers' colleges in the fifties, who are more literate in English than in Maori, and who constitute the new urbanised bourgeoisie. This stratum of Maori society is the one which was strongly affected by the surge of ethnic consciousness which came to prominence in America in the late fifties and early sixties, by the emergence of anthropology as the most popular of the social sciences in the universities and by the specific encouragement of scholars such as Dr W. S. Pearson to whose essay, in Schwimmer's The Maori People in the 1960's, Mr Ihimaera attributes his own motivation to write.

There must be few comparable situations. Such is the extent of the movement that the Maori artists have held an annual convention for several years past; there has been a considerable recruitment of young people, as well as the breaking from cover of some old ones — Harry Dansey is a case in point. The Maori art “movement”, however, while perhaps comparable to the development of the arts in Ireland in the nineties or of Negro and Jewish writing in America since 1950, lacks anything more than popular praise to carry it on. There is no substantial folk tradition, no jazz, no Yiddish Theatre, no tradition of vernacular literature that is easily reachable. For the uncertain and alienated members of Mr Ihimaera's generation there is not even a very substantial barrier of race or class by which to define their sense of being socially located.

In Pounamu, Pounamu Mr Ihimaera has set about the task of making the myth which might make sense of being Maori, a fact for him which must have meaning at greater depth than the Census data. He is no Sholem Aleichem however, nor a James Baldwin, so the attempt is hesitant, superficial, it lacks the energy which is the essential feature of ethnic literature. This too is a matter of location — if a Maori were to shout “The fire next time!”, the New Zealand Government would issue every Maori child with a fire extinguisher, with instructions thoughtfully provided in both languages. That is Mr Ihimaera's problem; it is also the context within which Pounamu, Pounamu must be read.

KEESING, Roger M. and Felix M. Keesing: New Perspectives in Cultural Anthropology. New York, Holt, Reinhart and Winston, 1971. xiv, 457 pp., figs. n.p.

Because of the incredible number of introductory texts in anthropology now published (I see eight in front of me that have arrived in the last year) and their overwhelming similarity, the review of such books has become largely an exercise in consumerism rather than scholarly criticism. New Perspectives in Cultural Anthropology, however, is an exception to the majority of introductory texts, - 508 and must certainly be the first occurrence of a second-generation book by a second-generation anthropologist. Despite the appearance of both Keesing names, New Perspectives represents a significant theoretical departure by Roger Keesing from Felix Keesing's 1958 Cultural Anthropology, 7 although the general organisation follows that of the earlier work. Thus, the book not only deserves critical review but offers the opportunity to consider the development of anthropology in the United States since 1958.

As the changed title indicates, the revision is extensive. New Perspectives retains much of the format of the earlier book in the topic headings and organisation, the case material inserted frequently throughout the text and the line drawings of Felix Keesing supplemented by those of his son. The changes partially indicate the new perspective. The book now focuses on social anthropology (read American social anthropology), leaving out or cutting back the coverage of material culture, historical linguistics, folklore, art, physical anthropology and archaeology. Also, the chapter on language now appears near the beginning of the book as an indication of the influence of language and communication theory on the theoretical orientation of the book. The exclusion of physical anthropology and archaeology reflects the increased specialisation in anthropology, and the other changes indicate important shifts of emphasis within cultural anthropology.

The book that results is an interesting combination of continunity and change from its predecessor. For example, the chapter on cultural change in New Perspectives uses extensive sections from Cultural Anthropology, perhaps indicating the lack of any new synthesis in this area. However, elsewhere in the book (the discussion of social organisation is one example) Roger Keesing employs his “new perspective” to deal with cultural change. That this approach was not included in the chapter on change is a shame, but this is probably the result of trying to present new ideas in an old framework.

The chapter discussing general theories such as functionalism, historicalism, configurationalism, etc., is substantially the same. Recent contributions to these theories have been sandwiched in among the old, and the whole chapter moved to a reference section at the end of the book. This new location allows for the retention of this important material without disruption of the general theoretical development in the body of the text.

“Economic Systems” is substantially rewritten without a significant change in theoretical orientation. In this chapter the section headings are virtually identical, the discussion totally new, but theoretical emphasis remains generally the same. At the end of the chapter a slight but important change is found where there is a change in section headings from “Systems of Consumption” to “The Integration of Economic Systems”. The latter more descriptive heading indicates that the theoretical emphasis has shifted to the interrelationship of variables within the economic system.

Roger Keesing's aim in providing a new perspective for anthropology reflects his own theoretical interests in particular and recent changes in the field in general. While the omission or reduction of emphasis on material culture, folklore and so on is important, the most important change between the two books are found in the sections discussing the structure and organisation of society and culture. This change is indicated by the amount of space devoted to the topic — about 10 percent of Cultural Anthropology as opposed to 25 percent of New Perspectives. The difference is even greater if the total discussion in New Perspectives is included rather than the percentage devoted to similar sub-topics.

- 509

More important than the number of pages is the nature of the theoretical content. Here Roger Keesing makes the greatest departure from his father's book, a departure which parallels the best developments in anthropology in the last 20 to 30 years. This change might be characterised as a shift of interest from “form” to “systems of relationship” which includes form but emphasises the operational principles that generate form. This is built on a theoretical approach, applied and developed throughout the book, which emphasises the relationship between the cognitive domain of culture and the structural characteristics of society. Keesing (p. 233) expresses the hope that such an approach:

enables us to break away from ‘equilibrium models’ and views of social structure as ‘frozen’ that hamper our understanding of change, and it connects the abstract formal structure of the ‘system’ with the dynamics of social process and individual psychology.

One of the great values of New Perspectives then is that it offers an opportunity to observe under controlled conditions the recent evolution of anthropology and in this, New Perspectives has appeal to anthropologists as scholars. However, the book as an introductory text is addressed to anthropologists as teachers and to their students, and the book deserves some discussion in this function.

Writing an introductory text of anthropology, and perhaps all academic disciplines, must be an exercise in looking over one's shoulder. The field has become so diverse and specialised that the author must make a basic choice between skimming over the field or being selective in discussing and developing only a few areas. In either case this leaves him gazing at all that must be left out. Keesing, following his father's example, has tended to be fairly extensive in his coverage. He has alleviated to a degree the problem of extensive coverage by narrowing the scope of the athropology covered in the book. Also, the problem is dealt with by the excellent device of consistently drawing ethnographic examples from a small number of societies but occasionally using an example from a larger number of societies so that a feeling for behavioural diversity is not lost.

The inclusive coverage does result in other problems. Often in an attempt to present a wide variety of views that have developed around an issue, the author simply mentions a scholar's name without mentioning what his contribution has been or its importance. For example (p. 77), in the chapter on language and culture he discusses the research concerned with semantic universals, and states the problems of finding such universals except in areas which are physiologically restricted such as colour perception as examined by Berlin and Kay. Nothing more is said about Berlin and Kay, and to the beginning student this amounts to noise in the system rather than information.

Perhaps the author is undecided about who his audience really is. Is this an introductory text, annotated bibliography for graduate students, or a theoretical statement to colleagues? Keesing (p. vi) states his dilemma in the introduction: “An introductory book is written with one eye on the student reader and one eye on colleagues armed on all sides with the swords of specialized knowledge.” He adds “. . . I have sought to challenge student readers by dealing with difficult

problems, but not to mystify them. Too often an introductory book portrays a field as well known and fully explored; here I have sought to lead the student to the frontier, and give him a feeling of how much lies beyond.”

I agree fully with his intent and feel that he often achieves this goal; but I wonder sometimes if he always provides enough information to define where the frontier is?

In general, this is an excellent book because of its coherent theoretical approach. However, as a result of the author's over-the-shoulder gaze, the book occasionally - 510 suffers from schizophrenia. Perhaps only a completely new book which ignored the structure suggested by Cultural Anthropology but developed one out of the theoretical intentions presented in New Perspectives could alleviate this problem.


KEESING, Felix M., 1958. Cultural Anthropology: The Science of Custom. New York, Holt, Reinhart and Winston.

MITCALFE, Barry: Maori Poetry: the Singing Word. Wellington, Price Milburn for Victoria University Press, 1974. 209pp., plates, music, n.p.

The larger part of this book is made up of 90 traditional Maori song texts with Mitcalfe's own translations (Ch. 2). Three supporting chapters contain a survey of the traditional forms of Maori song composition (Ch. 1); a reprint of six music arrangements with piano accompaniment by Sam Freedman (Ch. 3); and an account of the development of the modern action song (Ch. 4). Twenty of the 90 songs in the book are reprinted from Mitcalfe's earlier book Poetry of the Maori. 8

In this review, the reviewer will be accepting as standards for evaluation Ngata and Te Hurinui for translation and interpretation; 9 McLean for music; 10 and Williams, 11 Biggs 12 and Biggs et al. 13 for orthography. Measured against these standards, it must be said that Mitcalfe is speaking not to the serious student or to the ethnomusicologist or to the scholar of Maori literature—oral or written—, but to the lay reader. For the latter he has achieved his purpose clearly and adequately, but as to orthography, detailed presentation of information and, above all, translation and interpretation he has done poorly.

Vowel Length

In the introduction to his Let's Learn Maori, Bruce Biggs points out that

Maori, like all Polynesian languages, has phonemically distinctive vowel length, and a great many words are distinguished solely by pronouncing a given vowel as long or short. The conventional orthography, devised by English-speaking missionaries, failed to take this into account. Long vowels were not distinguished from short vowels, and reading involved a good deal of guesswork. 14

Two methods have been used for marking long vowels in Maori: the macron and the double vowel, the latter being the coalesced total of two identical (short) vowel sounds of normal duration. In their absence a word is denied its means of identity. He kaka enei!: What are the words saying? “These are clothes”? - 511 ‘These are parrots”? “These are bitterns”? “These are inflammable things”? “These are single hair”? “These are main lines in the tattoo”? “These are some hard wood”? “These are drag nets”? Only the writer knows! Meaning has not been got across . . . all for the want of a macron . . . or better still, of a double vowel!

Mitcalfe uses the conventional or single vowel orthography. The above example shows this to be inadequate. And the macron too is unsatisfactory because it is susceptible to human whim. The reviewer's own comments will be made in double vowel orthography which is the only method that can be relied upon where concepts, idiomatic nuances and symbols are being translated and interpreted from Maaori to English.

Word Division and Spelling

Incorrect word division and spelling abound in the book and along with unmarked vowel length often lead Mitcalfe into error. For example, in Song 20 (p. 48) for “haeta” read “haeata”; for “tauarai” read “tauaarai”; for “E amo” read “E Amo”; for “waiho ea mata” read “waihoe aa mata” (“the living object of the eye, cynosure of the eye, centre of attention”).

Compare the reviewer's corrected text and translation with that of the book:

Raa te haeata There the dawn
taakiri ana breaks
ki Tauwhara raa on Tauwhara yonder
pae tauaarai ki a koe, the ridge that separates you away,
e Amo, e aroha nei au, Amo, my beloved,
waihoe aa mata, centre of attention,
kia mihi au let me say farewell
kia roa te mihinga a long farewell
kaa tuku teenei ere I go down
ki te tai poouri to the dark shore
ki taku makau mate. to my deceased spouse.
The book's rendition

The first light of dawn
Has touched the high ridge
Of Tauwhara which blocks you
From my love;
Remain there, on the edge
Of my sight, let me weep
Long for you, grieve
Until I go down
To the dark shore
Where you wait,
My love.


The classic collections of traditional Maori song texts by Ngata and Te Hurinui 15 take account of the contextual content of the songs, largely ignoring their musical and postural elements. Mitcalfe's approach is unclear. The book is about “Maori Poetry” but the “Singing Word” part of his title warns that he is also attempting to look at the melodic aspect, the grist of ethnomusicology, and, indeed, he promptly proceeds to discuss this topic in Chapters 1, 3 and 4. - 512 Unless care is exercised, one is likely to misunderstand that the book is trying to approach its study according to its own version of ethnography and musicology. Mervyn McLean, who is described as an “ethno-musician” [sic] at Auckland University, is misquoted on p. 3 as including oriori and pao in the waiata group, and the paraphrase of McLean's “Music of Maori Chant” 16 (p. 4) is garbled. The music arrangements by Sam Freedman purport to have been chosen “for typicality” and to cover “the range of Maori song-composition — sung, spoken, pre-European and modern” (p. 159). This is an absurd statement as reference to any of McLean's transcriptions in Te Ao Hou 17 will show. The reader is recommended to ignore Mitcalfe's comments about music and refer direct to McLean's work 18 which, in the reviewer's judgement, is the scholarly standard.

Action Song

Mitcalfe begins his chapter on “Changing Styles” (Ch. 4) by saying that “The modern action song is a long way from its Maori predecessor in style, theme, and social function.” The predecessor of the action song is stated to be a form called the “haka waiata”. However, from 1914 to date, the reviewer has never heard the Ngaati Porou people, where this modern medium originated, call it by this unusual name “haka waiata” which, in itself, is a contradiction of terms. Haka is a recited form Monkhouse in 1769, Thomson in 1859 and (vide Armstrong 19 from Savage in 1807 to Ngata in 1908 of dances accompanied by action, all of which Mitcalfe designates as “action songs” (pp. 172-3). But however well any of these early writers might have described these so-called “action songs”, except Ngata in 1908, he could not have understood precisely whether he was witnessing a paatere or a haka taparahi or a haka horuhoru or some other form that belongs to the pre-European oral literature, unless he was a competent linguist who was also an experienced performer, or an anthropologist or an ethnographer or an ethnomusicologist. There is more to these traditional forms than mere graphic description. And it is begging the question to conclude from these writings, 100 years later, what song type, in fact, is being described. Certainly, “action song”, in this context, is vague if not misleading.

Haka Terminology

Of the many observation about haka in Ch. 4 the following may be singled our for special comment:

1. European descriptions of the peruperu in 1769 would fit the modern version exactly, so exactly that one can almost name the peruperu performed. This is how Lieutenant Gore of the Endeavour saw either the peruperu, ‘Uhi mai te waero’ or another one very similar to it in the spring of 1769. . . . (p. 176.)

No doubt, the description that the warriors were, with weapons in hand, jumping from right to left and vice versa suggests that Lieutenant Gore saw a peruperu, the true war-dance, being performed. It is, however, somewhat bold to suggest he might have been looking at “Uhi mai te waero” being performed. “Uhi mai te waero” is a tuutuungaarahu, not a peruperu or a puha, as Te Arawa usually calls the peruperu. It belongs to Te Arawa and is also used extensively - 513 by their cousins, Tuuwharetoa. The jumping in the tuutuungaarahu is straight up and down, not from left to right and vice versa as described herein. That style of jumping belongs to the puha or to the peruperu. At the highest point in the jump in the tuutuungaarahu, the knees are bent, the ankles hit the rumps, then on the way down to the ground the legs straighten to hit the ground with terrific force, in unison, at the end of the jump. Those people officer Gore saw in Gisborne had their own peruperu “Kia kuutia”, among others. It is still being performed by their descendants today in their ceremonials on their maraes, where, in context, it rightfully belongs.

2. Elsdon Best in 1901 uses the term haka without comment or qualification to cover a whole group of dances, and says this was “the most general and popular form of amusement in the whare tapere (house of entertainment) of old and one of the few that have survived the advent of the white man”. But, by that time, popular descriptions of various Maori gatherings . . . use the term haka in the modern sense, meaning a vigorous, shouted dance, once called variously ngeri, puha, pokeka manawa wera and haka taparahi, according to social or ritual functions. The names and functions varied according to canoe area, but only to a slight degree. Thus where the Arawa would perform a pokeka while approaching a strange marae, the Waikato might use a ngeri. (p. 177)

This statement, with others on the same page, is an oversimplification and unduly equates the several terms. Each class and sub-class has its own convention: its own style of actions, postures, accoutrements, and presentation, and fulfils a social function in a social situation, be that situation physically actual and factual or be it, in the mytho-poetic mind, there and then, an imagined, symbolic one. Instances are known of tribes loosely using some of their terms. But, for the majority of tribes throughout the country, the nomenclature has remained constant. Moreover, the statement, as it stands, can be read and misunderstood to mean that pookeka with Te Arawa and ngeri with Waikato are canoe-area synonyms for the same social or ritual function performed in similar social situations. This is not the case. It is true that sometimes one canoe-area will call a form by one name while another gives it a different name. For example, take the following:

English gloss Te Arawa Other areas    
War dance puha; peruperu peruperu    
  Te Arawa Ngaapuhi Ngaati Porou Waikato
Divinatory dance ngaarahu ngaarahu   ngaarahu
    tuu ngaarahu tuu ngaarahu  
        tuutuungaa rahu
  Te Arawa Tuuwharetoa Ngaati Porou Tuuhoe
Recited song expressive of extreme sorrow pookeka      
  maemae maemae   maemae

The ngeri and pookeka, however, are different forms wherever they may be. Here is a list of haka types distinguished according to function:

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Haka taparahi

From pre-European days to the present a haka taparahi has always been a ceremonial dance, never a war dance, always performed without weapons.


Also known as ngaarahu, tuu ngaarahu, whakatuu-waewae, and whakarewarewa. It is a divinatory dance, a ngaarahu, not a war-dance, a peruperu. It is performed by the war-party, with weapons, before the elders and experienced warriors who judged by their performance of it there and then whether they are ready to go to battle.


A ngeri is an exhortation to rouse the group to achieve successfully its group-object, whatever it be. In this situation, it is usually performed without weapons. When performed with weapons, it becomes a puha or a peruperu.


The peruperu is the true war-dance and is performed with weapons when the warriors come face to face with the enemy in battle. Because it is the true wardance, its purpose ought to be explained. Hard conditioning makes the warriors physically and mentally fit to perform this dance which has the psychological purpose of demoralising the enemy by gestures, by posture, by controlled chanting, by conditioning to look ugly, furious to roll the fiery eye, to glare the light of battle therein, to spew the defiant tongue, to control, to distort, to snort, to fart the thunder of the war-god upon the enemy, to stamp furiously, to yell raucous, hideous, blood-curdling sounds, to carry the anger, the peru, of Tuumatauenga, the ugly-faced war-god, throughout the heat of battle. Peruperu is the intensive form of peru “anger” and this is how the war-dance got its name, and that is its psychological purpose which no other form of haka could match in the past, can match now nor ever will. The peruperu ever took pride of place in the warrior-armour of the tamataane of yore.


A puha is a kind of a peruperu, the difference between the two being: the puha can be used, like the silent, meaningful tiwha, to alarm and call kinsmen to arms, not on the actual battlefield but in their paas and homes, whereas the peruperu, the true war-dance, is used only in battle. But, the puha is also used as a wardance while the group is face to face with the foe in battle. In that role it is called a peruperu.

The above distinctions do not all appear in the literature which Mitcalfe consulted, but they could all have been obtained by interviewing elders in the different tribal areas.


There are 209 pages in Mitcalfe's book. At halfway we meet: “This is a free translation of a song that is still widely known and sung. . . .” While this assessment by the author is of a particular song, the reviewer's objective view is that it applies to most, if not all, of the translations.

It has already been stated that Ngata and Te Hurinui are the reviewer's standards for translation and interpretation. 20 In his introduction to Nga Moteatea Pt. 1 Te Hurinui comments on the care taken by him “to guard - 515 against undue poetic licence and thereby adding new images and new thoughts to those of the original.” 21 Mitcalfe transgresses this principle.

There is not space in this review for the numerous song by song criticisms made by the reviewer while reading Mitcalfe's book. 22 It must suffice to offer alternative notes and translations of three songs selected at random from the book.

Songs 86, 78, 65

Rimu rimu tere tere, Seaweed, drifting here, there,
e tere i te moana, drifting on the ocean,
e ahu ana ki te drifting to
toka i waho e! the rock yonder !
Kaa tahi kaa rua Once, then again,
tangihanga heihei the cock crows,
e te tau, maranga kei awake, dear one,
te hoki au e! I am returning!

The above song was composed by Te Purewa Awatere at Waitetoki about 1908, from his sick-bed. Contrary to being a lover's song to his love, as appears at first sight, it was his farewell message to his mother who had nursed him throughout his long suffering. If the melody of the two is the same, then Mitcalfe's Song 86 is an adaptation of it. Otherwise, the similarity of the first verses may be regarded as coincidental. Here are the words of Song 86. The reviewer's rendition appears with the Maaori version, the book's rendition is also quoted. A comparison can be made in the light of the standard set by Ngata and Te Hurinui.

Rimu rimu tere tere Seaweed, floating here, there,
e tere ki te moana, drifting out to sea,
e ahu ana ki te ripo drifting to the swirl
i raro e! beneath the surface!
Rite tonu too hanga You are like
ki te tiirairaka e the fantail,
naa hoki too hanga for by your attitude
te wairangi au e! I am confused!
Ko te tio o te huka Thickly lies the snow
ki runga o ngaa hiwi, atop the hills,
kei te moe koromeke curled up, asleep
te wairua u e! is the spirit!

The book's rendition

Seaweed, seaweed, drifting, drifting
Drifting endlessly on the sea
Moved by currents
Far below.
Your image flutters like a fantail
On the edge of consciousness
It fills me
With sadness.
The dew still sparkles on the hills
But the spirit curls and sleeps
Huddled up
Within me.

- 516


This song was composed, in his teenage days, by Haanara Te Ohaaakii Rire who also, in his maturity, composed song 85 in this book. The tune is based on a Hawaiian melody. Later his people turned it into a modern action song. It has been carried far afield from his native Whareponga. Except for the last line, it is told in fairly general Maaori. In the last line, “tahuri mai”, a plea, in the Ngaati Porou dialect, is an idiom. It is hardly used in the physical sense of “turn to me” or “turn around and face me”. In that sense the usual idiom is “anga mai”. It is, however, used more in an abstract sense “have a little thought for me” or “remember me” or “may you look kindly on me”. It is in this latter sense that Haanara has used the dialectal idiom. The term “wake” is a transliteration of “walk” and is a musical alliteration with “wairua”.

Me he manu rere ahau e, If I were a bird that flies,
Kua rere ki too moenga, I would fly to your bed,
Ki te awhi 'too tinana, To embrace your body,
E te tau, tahuri mai. Dear one, think of me.
Kei te moe te tinana, The body sleeps,
Kei te wake te wairua, the spirit walks,
Kei te hotu te manawa, the heart yearns,
E te tau, tahuri mai. Dear one, think of me.

The book's rendition

Like a bird I would fly
To you, to where you
Lie sleeping, to hold you in my arms—
My love, turn to me.
Though the body sleeps
The spirit is drifting
And the heart is yearning—
My love, turn to me.

In this song, except for the idiomatic “tahuri mai”, the language is literal, so there is little to interpret. Compare the two renditions, looking carefully at the imagery word by word, phrase by phrase, sentence by sentence, then in terms of contextual meaning.


The reviewer first heard this poi song being sung by Wi Hapi Love and his relatives in Wellington in 1930, minus the actions. It was heard again on the Parihaka day in 1954, 1955, 1956, this time with pois. It was sung as one continuous verse, not one of five verses as it appears in Scott's written version or in that of this book. Inquiries from Rangihuunaa Pire and other elders, of a 60-90 age group there and then, reveal that Scott's and now this version contain some small errors in some words, particularly particles, which adversely affected the translation.

The rendition here is in a tight phrase form to bring out the faithful phrase-meaning, sentence-meaning, and contextual-meaning as explained by Rangihuunaa Pire and those other elders. Originally this composition was a song of self-pity: whakamomori is the Maaori term. It was composed by Rongomai herself, not by Te Whiti O Rongomai, or by Mere Ngaamai, or by Te Whetuu as some present had thought. Rongomai and Wakarua were man and wife at Whakaahurangi when Moehau, her friend, took the man from her and went to - 517 Parihaka in support of Te Whiti and his people. Here is an idiomatic rendition in English. Some of the Maaori idiomatic expressions are explained.

Whakamakuru: an omen, twitching of the nose, on the right side portended success; on the left, failure even death. Tuuria ki runga: Normally a taunting song or kaioraora (an abusive or belittling song) was performed by a group by using actions, gestures, and stamping in rhythm. Here, she imagines some of the folks at Parihaka are doing this to her, hence this expression. Koe: Wakarua. Miti mai te arero: tongue a-licking (at me). In this situation, she is not certain whether this “a-licking” means he still desires her or whether it means he is glad to get rid of her. Maaringa nui (Scott 23 and the book say maaringa tohu): by very good fortune, very fortunate, very lucky. Maaringa tohu: good luck, foretold. Haapainga atu au: take news of me. Moehau in this version, Moeahu in Scott's and in this book. Too raukura: literally, your feather-insignia, figuratively, your love. Koorua: you two, that is, you and your raukura or love.

Tangi aa taku ihu, My nose weeps,
e whakamakuru nei? what does it foretell?
Ko au pea Am I perhaps
e tuuria ki runga? being taunted? (by a posturing group)
He maihi whare koe You are a barge-board of a house
ki' miti mai te arero! with tongue a-licking at me!
Maaringa nui, e Waka, How lucky, Waka,
koia e tika ana justifiable indeed was
taku taakiritanga my casting off
'te kahu oo Te Kuini the Queen's cloak
kaa piki ngaa rongo whereby arose tidings
oo Te Whiti of Te Whiti
kei runga! on high!
Hapainga atu au Take news of me
ki runga oo Parihaka to Parihaka
kia whakarongo mai to be heard
Moehau i reira there by Moehau
hei paanui atu who will explain
ki te iwi oo Tiitoko to Tiitoko's tribe
ki taku whakaaro my belief
he makau tupu koe! you are a genuine spouse!
Kaa mutu pea e Ended perhaps are
ngaa rangi hanihani? the days of slander?
Teenei anoo too raukura Here indeed your feather-insignia
ka titia ! is worn!
Maa te hau oo waho Let some foreign wind
e tiki mai come get it
e whawhati! come break it!
I weherua poo Till midnight
i wake ai walked hither
koorua you two
he kainga to feast
mutungakore (as if) endlessly
i taku tinana nei! on this, my body!
- 518
Noo whea ngaa mate Whence are the ills
a patu raa i aku hoa that befall my friends
tee karawhiu ai yet do not afflict
te kino i ahau me with evil consequence
kei noho au that I might not live
i te ao in the world
hei kome au as gossip to be bandied
maa te ngutu tangata i! upon the lips of men!

The book's rendition

Weeping, face flowing with tears
I am, perhaps, the figure crouching
Over the house and you
The bargeboards, tongues protruding.
It was right, my people, was it not
That I should cast aside the cloak of the Queen?
It has made the name of Te Whiti climb
To the heights, raised it high over Parihaka.
You have heard, Moeahu, what was said
To the people of Titokorowaru,
I feel he is the one you should cherish
And then, perhaps, these times of evil talk will end.
Your white plume is fixed here on my head
Blow, winds from beyond, it will not break;
At my lowest ebb, there is this solace for us,
A tide within me that will flow forever.
Whatever fate assails us with misfortune
I will drive those evils out;
At the going down of the world
They will be speaking of us.

The explanations given in the book, while informative, fail to give the correct background to the song as has been shown here.

The three simple examples picked at random from among many in the book show lack of deeper research before going to print. The greater fault, however, is transgression of the standards set by Ngata and Te Hurinui. This becomes further apparent when one compares the renditions of other songs in the book with those of the same songs in Nga Moteatea I, II, III.

  • ARMSTRONG, Alan, 1964. Maori Games and Hakas. Wellington, Reed.
  • BIGGS, Bruce, 1969. Let's Learn Maori. Wellington, Reed.
  • BIGGS, Bruce, Patrick HOHEPA, and Sidney MEAD, 1966. Selected Readings in Maori. Wellington, Reed.
  • MCLEAN, Mervyn, 1964. “The Music of Maori Chant.” Te Ao Hou, 47:36-9.
  • —— 1964-66. “Transcriptions of Authentic Maori Chant” Parts 1-10. Te Ao Hou, 48-57.
  • —— 1969. “Song Types of the New Zealand Maori.” Studies in Music, 3:53-69.
  • MITCALFE, Barry, 1961. Poetry of the Maori. Hamilton, Pauls Book Arcade.
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  • NGATA, Apirana, 1959. Nga Moteatea, Part I. Wellington, Polynesian Society.
  • NGATA, Apirana and Pei Te HURINUI, 1961. Nga Moteatea, Part II. Wellington, Polynesian Society.
  • —— 1972. Nga Moteatea, Part III. Wellington, Polynesian Society.
  • SCOTT, Dick, 1954. The Parihaka Story, Auckland, Southern Cross Books.
  • WILLIAMS, Herbert, 1971. A Dictionary of the Maori Language. Wellington, Government Printer. 7th Edition.

RICHSTAD, Jim, Michael McMILLAN and Ralph D. BARNEY: The Pacific Islands Press: a Directory. East-West Communication Institute. Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 1973. 81 pp. Price (U.S.) $2.95.

MOOKINI, Esther. The Hawaiian Newspapers. Honolulu. Topgallant. 1974. 55 pp. Price (U.S.) $3.00.

Newspapers in the Pacific are a European introduction. In most countries they quickly followed the growth of the first commercial centres, and were closely patterned on the press of the colonial mother country.

With no local tradition of written communication, and a native population which became slowly literate, newspapers found their news sources stretched back to Europe and Australasia rather than among the islands of the Pacific itself.

Many ventures quickly failed, but today's main newspapers can usually trace their history back to early foundations. Such early papers as the first Fiji Times, Samoa Express, or La France Australe were publications produced at a high cost on primitive facilities for a tiny circulation.

Regional communications were generally poor, and this, coupled with the papers' links with European settlers and commerce, produced an understandable bias which has continued until recent years.

The last 10 to 15 years have produced startling changes. As examples, the 16,000 circulation Post-Courier has arisen as Papua New Guinea's national daily; La France Australe has changed from a one-sheet relic to Noumea's modern tabloid daily; and the Fiji Times has seen its circulation multiply to reach almost 20,000 as the South Pacific's largest daily. The first substantial papers have arisen in the British Solomons, Tonga, and the Gilbert and Ellice; new dailies have flourished in Noumea, Suva and Tahiti.

The South Pacific Commission has been but one of many pressures towards a regional interchange of information. Formerly, news from French Polynesia reached Suva by passing from Tahiti through Paris and London to Sydney and Suva. Now such patterns are slowly changing.

A new entrant in efforts to establish better regional news services and a better islands press is Hawaii's East-West Communication Institute. In late June 1974 it, and about 50 press delegates, established a Pacific Islands News Association with the former executive director of the Fiji Times, L. G. Usher, as organising director.

An initial problem is to identify the Pacific Press. A first attempt at this is Pacific Islands Press: a Directory. It is a brave first attempt but a disappointment.

Using a high standard of bibliographical writing, the writers accurately catalogue some 61 publications — but omit others which did not provide such full - 520 detail. Also absent are church and political papers despite the influence these often exercise.

If, as is intended, the new News Association can revise and reprint the directory, the first comprehensive listing of the present day Islands press may be achieved. There is a need for such revision, since in addition to the omissions at least six of the listed publications have ceased.

A publication of a similar bibliographical standard, but more thorough in its coverage, is The Hawaiian Newspapers by Esther K. Mookini. This includes a useful brief forward on Hawaii's newspaper history.

Such works are an important guide to the fragmentary holdings of island newspapers. The bibliographical works of the Société des Océanistes have covered the French territories in detail; but more work on the British territories is needed.

ROGERS, Lawrence M.: Te Wiremu. A Biography of Henry Williams. Christchurch, Pegasus Press, 1973. 335 pp. Price (N.Z.) $7.50.

In his Preface, Lawrence Rogers raises the intrinsic problem that biography engenders — the undue exaltation of the subject through the devotion of his biographer — but still ultimately presents us with hagiography. In this study of Henry Williams, there is little close analysis of the methods, objectives, and effects of the missionaries or even of the quality of leadership that Williams undoubtedly brought to their cause at a decisive time; instead we are given a description of the major events and important episodes in Williams' life, organised almost entirely within a chronological framework. However, because Mr Rogers does attempt to take cognisance of some of the issues raised by other writers on early nineteenth century mission history, he moves occasionally into assessments of Williams' achievements. But the author has difficulty in incorporating narrative with analysis and, as a consequence, much informational material is repeated (sometimes more than once) in order to serve these different ends. The effect is one of disorganisation, even of suspected lapses of memory on the part of Mr Rogers. For the problems become not merely those of repetition but of internal inconsistencies and inaccuracies. Henry Williams transferred his land to his children in 1847, but we are first given the date of 1851 (p. 222; cf. 251, 273); the lay missionary William Hall left New Zealand variously in 1824 and 1825, while Bishop Pompallier arrived variously on 10 and 13 January 1838; Philip Tapsell, the trader, according to the text was settled at Maketu by 1831, but in the footnote we are told he settled there in 1836 (p. 91 and note 21). Not only careless, the author is also evasive on certain issues and misleading on others. He avoids the “difficult” or “sensitive” areas in mission history, the subjects of quarrels among the settlers themselves — such as the bitter early dispute over Williams' determination to abandon the first station founded, Rangihoua — and he thereby also fails to highlight the later years of relative - 521 harmony among the Church Missionary Society settlers, when progress was being steadily achieved. Mr Rogers similarly avoids some of the tricky areas in the mission's relations with the Maoris. He fails, for example, to probe the significant information that it was the two eminent chiefs of Rangihoua in the early 1830s, Wharepoaka and Waikato, who were particularly hostile to the missionaries, and who were, as a consequence, ready to become associated with the rival Papahurihia sect which sprang up there. Such antagonism stemming from the leaders of the community associated with the founding station surely deserves some comment.

In actuality, Mr Rogers is singularly unhelpful on the Maori world. Too many of the Bay of Islands chiefs are introduced (following Hugh Carleton's nineteenth century work), 24 simply as “Hongi's fighting chiefs”. Wharepoaka, Tareha, Rewa, and Kahakaha were all, in their own right, major leaders of principal subgroupings within the tribal complex at the Bay. The use of such blanket terms of association gives quite a misleading impression of the structure of power there in the 1820s and 1830s. War alliances were made indeed — and broken — between the kin groupings of the Bay, but these allied groups were not the dependants of one dominant political leader. Hongi's power — and particularly his reputation in the European world — was undoubtedly exalted by the fortuitous opportunity of access to European shipping, together with his calculated patronage of the first mission stations, but no chiefs possessed defined functions of leadership, or of subordination. As war leaders (indeed, the only recognised role of the chiefs) they were all quite independent; moreover, internecine conflict at the Bay was intensified in this period, as groups quarrelled over control of the ownership of trade goods and of the means of access to European trade. Mr Rogers records the remarkable fact that the paa at Kororareka changed hands in 1830 as the peace settlement (arranged, he argues, by Williams), and fails to realise the implications therein: that the major port of call for the shipping at the Bay had been won by Ngaapuhi, in what is still erroneously considered to have been a war about women.

For the readers of this Journal, then, Te Wiremu is not a very helpful book. This is not to say that it does not contain some useful material. Mr Rogers makes some important points. He notes, correctly, the critical fact that it was Henry Williams who brought the missionaries to realise that it must be they, and not the Maoris, who were to dictate the terms of their trading relationship. If the mission stations were to assert themselves within the Maori world they must become economically independent of their patron tribes and they must control that first nexus of connection from which all else would develop. However on other important points of interpretation which he introduces he somewhat simplifies the issues. He argues, for example, that the mission stations became pockets of territory wherein Maori “law” did not run: from this “emancipation” stemmed the gradual erosion of the Maori practices of utu and muru. In part, this view is undoubtedly correct. But the neglect — or active defiance — of former social observances, which was evident at the Bay in the 1830s, must also be attributed to a general European attitude of ridicule and refusals to observe all the structures of the local social order, together with the apparent immunity of the Europeans from divine retribution. Not only the missionaries failed to cooperate. Rogers seems to see the mission stations both as sanctuaries and as outposts of a new world, from which the missionaries expanded their influence until, by about 1840, they had reached the position wherein they “dominated Maori community life” (p. 155). If so, it was only for a brief period: at the most, some 15 years. Mr Rogers also raises the very interesting problem of Henry - 522 Williams' own responses to the realities of the Maori world in which he ended up living for so long. It is undoubtedly true that the learning was not entirely a one-way process. But to assert that Williams was prepared, wherever possible, to participate in this world, even to identify with it (p. 78) is finally implausible. Clearly Mr Rogers is on the defensive for his hero against the charges frequently levelled against the early missionaries of their absolutist rejection of Maori values and customs. In fact, the missionaries were forced to modify their teachings to some degree, notably in the realm of hell-fire preaching, which went down very badly. There are indications in Williams' life that he did mitigate his initial theological framework of the depravity of natives, towards an acceptance of some Maori habits and even some Maori values. In 1832, he caused some surprise by punishing a group of Maoris living at the Paihia station. They had violated a tapu which Williams had apparently agreed to respect. He was also prepared to attend hahunga feasts, which, being held for the display of the bones of the dead, were occasions completely antagonistic to his own beliefs about death. But he was merely tolerating such social occasions of great importance in order to gain the Maoris' confidence and regard. On this point he was quite specific. Consequently, there is no substantial contradiction between the fact of his attendances and even of his observance of practices that induced social order and his descriptions of some of those practices, such as the welcome party for James Busby in 1833, of which he wrote, they sprang to their feet “with their usual horrid scream”. Nevertheless, it is worth remembering Lady Martin's observation 25 of the Williams brothers in 1844, when they took part in the oratory at a Maori meeting at Waimate:

They had lived so long in the land that they used Maori action, though they did not leap or rush about. Archdeacon Henry Williams, a stout, oldfashioned-looking clergyman . . . marched up and down with a spear in his hand, and elicited shouts of applause.

Mr Rogers claims too much for Williams, but it is a point, often overlooked, that the missionaries were capable of responding to the environment to which they had committed their entire lives.

In the later part of the book, Mr Rogers introduces the topic of the cession of New Zealand and claims that Williams' stature in the land by this date was critical in obtaining the consent of the Maoris to the Treaty of Waitangi. There is little doubt that Williams possessed considerable mana, but to assert, thereby, that the cooperation of the Maoris was won and the Treaty became possible (p. 240), is to ignore the more decisive realism of men like Waka Nene, who argued that it was now too late to drive the Europeans away. Nor was the Treaty born of idealism, as Mr Rogers insists (p. 180); rather, it was the product of a situation that the Colonial Office had hoped to be able to ignore — that is, the existence of British settlers in New Zealand. The Treaty was born out of the reluctant recognition that the colonisation of this country had begun and would continue. It was never intended simply to protect the Maori race, nor is such a view the “consensus of historical opinion”. The Treaty was devised in the belief that, with the control of land sales, war and the extermination of the Maoris might be averted. It was devised in the belief that the only chance of the survival of the Maoris under the pressures of colonisation was their assimilation, within the protection of law, into a European way of life. Ironically, it was to be such assimilationist policies that forced the wars they had been intended to avert. It is far too simplistic to attribute the failure of the Treaty to achieve racial harmony “mainly” to the machinations of the New Zealand Company (p. 181).

- 523

The final third of the book is yet another attempt to vindicate Henry Williams' land purchases in the north. Mr Rogers' account is probably largely tenable, though there are still some problems to explain away. It cannot be ignored that Williams failed to transfer his holdings to his children until instructed to do so by the C.M.S. And even if Williams originally purchased 11,000 acres to secure a future for his children, which notion still seems reasonable, it is hard to accept that 4,000 of these formed a completely “worthless” tract, bought solely to secure “a right-of-way” (p. 219) ! Some of the land was also acquired after the C.M.S. had indicated its disapproval of the missionaries using their private resources for the purchase of land. Nor can it be sustained that, in the 1830s, agriculture seemed an unprofitable venture in the north; rather, the rapidly swelling number of ships provided a constant market, while Sydney, as the export figures for the period show, was not “too far away” (p. 220).

The Reverend Henry Williams was undoubtedly a critical figure in the establishment and “success” of the Anglican mission in New Zealand. But in this book, his influence is never fully analysed in the context of other pressures and other factors. Admittedly, it is always difficult to assess the importance of the individual within the broader historical processes. But Williams' role as leader of the C.M.S. mission in New Zealand has been better analysed than in this book, specifically by Robin Fisher in his M.A. thesis, Henry Williams' Leadership of the C.M.S. Mission in New Zealand, 1823-1840. 26 And as an instrument in obtaining the Maoris' consent to the cession of New Zealand, Williams' role is overplayed in the published account. I do not intend to be harsh, but the book is dogged by too many errors. It is also badly proof-read, particularly in the early chapters, while the Pegasus Press seems to be suffering from an acute shortage of full stops. We could have expected a better biography than we have been given.

  • CARLETON, H., 1874. The Life of Henry Williams, Archdeacon of Waimate, 2 vols. Auckland, Upton and Company.
  • FISHER, Robin, 1969. Henry Williams Leadership of the C.M.S. Mission in New Zealand, 1823-1840. Unpublished M.A. Thesis, University of Auckland.
  • MARTIN, Lady, 1884. Our Maoris. London, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

SNOW, Philip (ed.) Best Stories of the South Seas. London, Faber and Faber, 1967. 203 pp., map. Price (N.Z.) $1.80.

South Seas stories can be divided conveniently into three categories. The first type belongs to the “local colour” movement of the latter nineteenth century United States. Charles Warren Stoddard's South Seas Idylls belongs to this kind of writing. R. L. Stevenson's stories represent the second type which employs the South Seas simply as an exotic background for narrative adventure. The most - 524 mature writing about the South Seas is symbolic in nature. Works of Melville, Maugham and Conrad, which make up the third type, have within them elements of the first two categories but these writers move beyond the superficial and ephemeral into the realms of mythology. Melville and Maugham wrote directly about the South Seas but Conrad, whose name has somehow become inextricably connected with the South Seas, wrote only one story, “The Planter of Malata”, set in this region, although his characters do move in and out of the South Seas. I feel that Mr Philip Snow's decision to exclude Maugham from his anthology was an unfortunate one because the symbols Maugham created are far more eloquent than pages of realistic writing by Michener and Grove Day.

Mr Snow says in his introduction that the first criterion in making his selection was realism. It is not always easy for the European writer to be realistic when he confronts the South Seas material; his prose automatically becomes lyrical. The evidence of this is in Mr Snow's own prose (p. 10): “all pervading sweet smell of copra”, “smart silhouette of the palm-tree fringing a perfect white coral beach” and “the drama and trauma of solitariness in some of the most grandly isolated spots on earth”.

Mr Snow intimates that only Melville posed difficulties in his selection. He does not explain why. This kind of explanation is necessary if Mr Snow expects the serious students of South Seas literature to move from his anthology to the texts themselves. Melville did claim that he was speaking the “unvarnished truth” 27 although his detractors dismissed both Typee and Omoo as impertinent inventions. Of course the uncomplimentary comments about his books did not originate from any kind of rigorous examination of the texts themselves; his critics were simply scandalised by his criticism of missionary activities and his liaison with Polynesian maidens. It is now clear that Melville, who had no knowledge of Marquesan language, gathered his information about the island's social and political institutions from the travelogues of Langsdorff, Porter and Stewart and from the researches of Ellis, and he added to these material from his own experience. The extract that Mr Snow has selected from Typee is undoubtedly a representative piece of Melvillian writing about the South Seas. It is a piece of nineteenth century realistic prose but the picture is, nevertheless, a trifle overdrawn: the lovers are “a boy and a girl, slender and graceful, and completely naked,” 28 and the village leaders “eight or ten noble-looking chiefs” squatting upon their haunches in a “handsome building of bamboos” 29

The other authors included in the anthology are familiar: Thor Hyderdhal, Arthur Grimble, James Michener and A. Grove Day, John Martin, R. L. Stevenson, John Vandercook and Philip Snow. These authors are already well known for their stories about the South Pacific and they are still in print. One wonders if it was necessary to put them into an anthology. However, they all have to be read with caution. It is interesting to note that for Fiji, Mr Snow has selected his own story rather than Michener's account of Fiji. Michener's story about New Ireland is fairly reliable. But can his account of Fiji (endorsed by Grove Day in his book on Michener) be taken seriously: “Imagine a group of islands blessed by heaven, rich in all things needed to build a good life, plus gold mines and a good climate. Picture a native population carefree, delightful and happy. Add a white government that works overtime to give honest service. There's only one thing wrong with the picture of Fiji. The Indians.” 30

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Mr Snow says (p. 14) that “the South Seas have much with which the European feels an elemental sympathy of a closer kind than perhaps with the Orient or Africa”. The European responses to the South Seas bear this out. But Snow does not explain why the European has this “elemental sympathy”.

It has, in fact, a lot to do with the myth of South Pacific paradise which is, after all, a variant of the Greek myth of the golden age and the Christian belief in Eden.

The great European explorations and settlement overseas drew sustenance from this myth. When a new land was discovered, the country and its inhabitants were frequently seen in the light of Greek or Judaeo-Christian mythology (Antoine de Bougainville called Tahiti a new Cythera, and Columbus thought the turbulence of the Orinoco originated from the Highland where the Ark took refuge from the deluge). The submerged mythological symbols in the collective consciousness of the European writers come to the surface when they encounter the grace and languor of the islands. Their journey to the South Seas is, in a sense, a journey back to the primitive past of Western Civilisation where the present anxieties are temporarily forgotten.

In their writings, symbols from South Seas easily merge with symbols from ancient Greece, so that Maugham's South Seas are simultaneously a Polynesian Paradise and the “garden of the Hesperides” and the tropical lagoon in “Red” is the “Sea of Homeric Greece”. 31 Similarly Melville's Marnoo in Typee is at once an Apollo, a Christ-figure as well as a noble savage.

The devil is an indispensable principle in the paradise myth. He appears in several guises in South Seas literature. Maugham's missionaries are obviously devils in the same way in which French colonials are devils in Melville's romances. The devil is revealed even in the art of lesser talents. Pierre Loti who saw a scraggy Chinese kiss Rarahu on her naked shoulder turned his venom against the Chinese community. Subsequently the Chinese lived under the threat by French officials of banishment to the Devil's Island. Jack London saw Tahiti as the nearest thing to paradise but for the Jewish pearl traders who, he insisted, ought to be banished just as the usurers and money changers were flogged and expelled from the temple by Christ.

And finally Michener, whose art is seldom capable of creating any enduring symbol, is most successful in inventing the devil. His devil is Billimoria who represents the “rapacious” invasion of the Fiji Islands by East Indians. Michener describes the East Indians as “suspicious, whining, unassimilated, provocative aliens”. 32 Billimoria with his “cadaverous face” and skin of “midnight black” is the prince of darkness, and his people are like myna birds or “the tangled brown parasites that hung from the branches like myriad snakes.” 33

A number of writers followed the footsteps of Melville either “to drink the milk of paradise” or in search of those symbols which inspired his writing. They were all enchanted by the beauty and simplicity of the islands but few made the islands their home. Even R. L. Stevenson created a little England for himself in Vailima where he built an English-style home complete with a fire-place! And Gauguin who proclaimed himself a savage, and identified himself most vehemently with primitive life, was no longer painting the South Seas towards the end of his life; instead he was creating the snow-capped mountains of Europe. In a sense, then, the voyage of the European writer was like the adventure of the Kon Tiki — both began with preconceived notions and ended in disappointment, without achieving anything significant.

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It is unfortunate that no indigenous writers are included in this anthology. Mr Snow maintains that although they exist, they are not ready to entertain and analyse in English. I feel that there were Maori authors who could have been included.

In the meanwhile, a number of indigenous authors have emerged: Albert Wendt has, after a successful novel, just published a volume of short stories; Witi Ihimaera, Patricia Grace and Rowley Habib have contributed to several journals. Vanessa Griffen and Raymond Pillai, and others whose works have appeared in Mana, are awaiting publication in an anthology. These stories are important and, indeed, are necessary to complement or even challenge the European vision.

  • MAUGHAM, W. Somerset, 1950. South Sea Stories. Montreal, Permabooks.
  • MELVILLE, Hermann, 1964. Typee. Toronto, New American Library.
  • MICHENER, James A., 1957. Return to Paradise. New York, Bantam.

Fataleka and Baegu Music/Malaita, Solomon Islands. Recordings and commentary by Hugo Zemp. One 12″ 33⅓ disc. Philips 6586 018 (Berlin, Unesco “Musical Sources” Collection: The Primeval Cultures, 1-1). Cover notes with photos.

This is Zemp's seventh LP from the Solomon Islands and his fourth from Malaita. 34 The disc lacks the bound-in brochure of its more lavish predecessors, but the cover format allows for seven photographs — all but two of which are in colour —, and a surprising amount of information (some 2000 words) is packed into the commentary on the back of the sleeve. As one would expect of field recordings from Hugo Zemp, a master tape prepared by the Musée de l' Homme and a disc produced by Philips for Unesco, the technical quality cannot be faulted. And the contents are a further demonstration of the musical riches that Zemp's work continues to reveal in the Solomons.

Unlike Zemp's earlier discs from Malaita — which were from the 'Are'Are people in the southern part of the island — the current recordings are from two adjacent peoples in the central part of northern Malaita. Side 1 (tracks 1-7) is devoted to Fataleka music and Side 2 (tracks 8-18) to Baegu music.

In his notes, Zemp points out that these two peoples have many cultural features in common with their immediate neighbours — Lau, Baelelea and To'abaita, to the north, and Kwara'ae to the south —, including the music which throughout the entire northern half of Malaita “exhibits a certain homogeneity when compared with that of the south.” The rationale for this, as Zemp himself implies, undoubtedly lies in the close relationship between the languages of northern Malaita. Capell 35 says To'abaita, Baelelea and Baegu form a single language which is related to Kwara'ae. And, elsewhere in this issue of the Journal, Elli Maranda comments that the mutual intelligibility of Lau, To'abaita, Baelelea, Baegu and Fataleka is such that “cultural exchanges are frequent and fruitful.” 36 One result is that Lau audiences are able to follow the texts of - 527 Fataleka and Baegu songs with little difficulty. 37 Another is a considerable overlap in terminology for song types, musical instruments and performance practice among the several groups.

The present writer's information is limited to To'abaita 38 and Lau 39 and is incomplete. Nevertheless, the correspondences with Fataleka and Baegu are striking and well support Zemp's statement.

For example, 'ainimae narrative songs are found not only in Baegu (track 12 on the disc) but also in To'abaita 40 and Lau 41 areas; the Baegu rorogwela lullaby (track 8) is found also in the Lau area under the name rurongwela; 42 and the Lau mao 43 is found under the same name in To'abaita. 44 Individual Fataleka and Baegu musical instruments occurring under similar names in the To'abaita area may be tabulated as follows:

susuku bundle panpipe (track 3) ifisusuku bundle panpipe 1
sukwadi end-blown flute (track 10) sukukwadi side-blown flute 2
kwadili musical bow (track 11) kwadili European Jew's harp 3
1   Frazer 1973: tape 73/140.2.
2   Frazer 1973: tape 73/136.2.
3   Frazer 1973: tape 73/137.9.

Also illustrative of the point is the manner in which the disposition of the musicians in group performance correlates with musical structure throughout northern Malaita. All of the men's ensemble songs on the disc — comprising uunu divinatory songs which begin Side 1 (tracks 1 and 2), an 'ainimae narrative song (track 12) and a song to introduce panpipe music mae'au (track 13) — are performed in two parts by a men's choir seated in two rows facing one another, one row to each part, with a soloist generally performing a third part. The two choral parts are known as nao and buli. The same arrangement of musicians is employed in the 'au sisile, 'au sango (Fataleka and Baegu) and 'au 'ero (Baegu) panpipe ensembles — though the players are standing instead of seated —, and the pairs of instruments in these ensembles have the same names nao and buli. 'Au sisile ensembles with an identical arrangement of nao and buli pairs — though with differing numbers of instruments — occur in To'abaita, Baelelea, Lau and Kwaio areas, 45 and 'au 'ero ensembles are to be found among the Lau and To'abaita. 46 One surmises that the nao and buli principle applies also to the vocal music of these areas.

Another feature of the singing on Zemp's disc with a distribution going beyond Fataleka and Baegu is the way in which choruses “often sing with their mouths shut” while the soloist carries the text. This occurs in the uunu songs (tracks 1 and 2), in the roiroa lullabies (track 4) and in the 'ainimae (track 12). Among the To'abaita, 'ainimae are likewise performed with humming accompaniment, 47 and Lau men's 'ainimae similarly begin with too nguu “singing - 528 with the mouth closed”. 48 Careful listening to the uunu and 'ainimae on Zemp's disc shows further that principles of sectional “markers” set out by Maranda for Lau 'ainimae 49 apply in part at least to Fataleka and Baegu choral music. In the uunu divinatory songs (tracks 1 and 2), for example, an opening section is sung without words by both soloist and chorus. The end of this section is clearly marked by sustained consecutive M2s and an increase in volume. At this point, a rattle accompaniment begins and the soloist embarks upon a text which one supposes to be the Fataleka equivalent of the Lau song section known as “singing the narrative” while the chorus continues as before with its hummed vocal accompaniment. The 'ainimae (track 12) and the mae 'au song (track 13) have similar introductory sections distinguishable from the rest of the song by an absence of percussive accompaniment and, in the case of the latter song, by an increase in volume upon the entry of the rattles. This point in the song is marked also by a change of stance as the singers rise from a seated posture in order to sound their anklet rattles “by striking their right feet against the ground.”

Except for brief mention of panpipe scales—non-equiheptatonic for the 'au sisile and 'au sango ensembles (tracks 5-7), and equiheptatonic for the 'au 'ero ensemble (tracks 14-18)—Zemp provides no musical analysis. As with the earlier discs, however, there are fairly readily observable uniformities which are worth noting. Three-part polyphony in the form of the soloist and two-part nao/buli chorus in group vocal items has already been discussed as has the phenomenon of non-meaningful song texts. Some songs—such as the mae 'au song (track 13) and an interpolated song during the playing of the 'au sisile ensemble (track 6)—appear to be sung entirely on meaningless syllables. Others, as earlier noted, use vocables in an introductory section. Percussive accompaniment, either with rattles or with clapping sticks, is common and all of the songs appear to be isometric. Forms are mostly strophic. Scales are commonly pentatonic or hexatonic.

The most conspicuous characteristic of the vocal style, however, is its extremely large range (as much as a 12th or 13th), skips at the upper extremity of range into the falsetto register, and the use of large melodic steps. In the small sample of songs on Zemp's disc, the M2 predominates as a melodic interval in all songs, but seldom occurs successively more than once or twice. After the M2, 4ths are the most frequent single interval, followed by M and m 3s and 5ths. Movement by leap is so common that it is not unusual for a 7th, 8ve or even a 10th to be spanned in only two steps.

Of the rather more than 60 percent of the disc devoted to instrumental music, special mention should be made of a spectacular musical bow (kwadili) solo on track 11 with harmonics produced by varying the player's mouth cavity clearly audible against the fundamental notes; the struck and blown tubes (sukute) on track 9 which Zemp believes to be a local invention among the Baegu, 50 and the soft, delicate, breathy quality of the sounds produced by the bundle panpipe (susuku) on track 3. The remaining instrumental items are a solo from the sukwadi end-blown flute (track 10) and the examples of 'au sisile, 'au sango and 'au 'ero panpipe ensemble playing earlier mentioned. Adequate notes on these are on the record sleeve and further information is available in the second of Zemp's long articles on the musical instruments of Malaita in the Journal de la Société des Océanistés. 51

- 529
  • CAPELL, A., 1962. A Linguistic Survey of the South-Western Pacific. South Pacific Commission Technical Paper No. 136. Noumea, South Pacific Commission.
  • FRAZER, Ian, 1973. Documentation deposited with field tapes of “To'abaita Music” in the Archive of Maori and Pacific Music, University of Auckland, accession nos. 73/136-40.
  • IVENS, Walter, 1930. The Island Builders of the Pacific. London, Seeley Service.
  • McLEAN, Mervyn, 1974a. “Recordings from Musée de l'Homme.” Journal of the Polynesian Society, 83(2):245-51.
  • —— 1974b. Review of Musique de Guadalcanal Solomon Islands by Hugo Zemp. Journal of the Polynesian Society, 83(4):490-1.
  • MARANDA, Elli, 1975. “Lau Narrative Genres.” Journal of the Polynesian Society, 84(4):485-91.
  • ZEMP, Hugo, 1971. “Instruments de musique de Malaita I.” Journal de la Société des Océanistes, XXVII (30):31-53.
  • ZEMP, Hugo, 1972. “Instruments de musique de Malaita II.” Journal de la Société des Océanistes, XXVIII (34):7-48.
1   Roth 1964. 127-32.
2   Jackson 1931.
3   Sutherland 1940.
4   Education Dept. 1971.
5   Standish 1962:19-23.
6   Ramsay 1969.
7   Keesing 1958.
8   Mitcalfe 1961.
9   Ngata 1959; Ngata and Te Hurinui 1961; Ngata and Te Hurinui 1972.
10   McLean 1964; McLean 1964-66; McLean 1969.
11   Williams 1971.
12   Biggs 1969.
13   Biggs et al. 1966.
14   Biggs 1969:15.
15   See footnote 2.
16   McLean 1964.
17   McLean 1964-66.
18   See footnote 3.
19   Armstrong 1964.
20   See footnote 2.
21   Ngata 1959:xxi.
22   These amount to some 20 foolscap typed pages (Ed.).
23   Scott 1954.
24   Carleton 1874.
25   Martin 1884:37.
26   Fisher 1969.
27   Melville 1964:ix.
28   Ibid., 84.
29   Ibid., 86-7.
30   Michener 1957:104.
31   Maugham 1950:50.
32   Michener 1957:105.
33   Ibid., 130.
34   For reviews of the earlier discs see McLean 1974a and 1974b.
35   Capell 1962:182.
36   Maranda 1975:485.
37   Loc. cit.
38   Frazer 1973.
39   Ivens 1930; Maranda 1975.
40   Frazer 1973: tape 73/138.
41   Maranda 1975:486.
42   Ivens 1930:127.
43   Maranda 1975:486.
44   Frazer 1973: tape 73/140.3.
45   Zemp 1972:13-17.
46   Zemp 1972:18-21.
47   Frazer 1973: tapes 73/138-9.
48   Maranda 1975:489.
49   q.v. Maranda 1975:
50   Zemp 1971:42.
51   Zemp 1972.