Sunday, July 14, 2013

Favourite Māori Legends: book review by Gordon Crombie for the the Book Show on Radio Southland 96.4FM

Favourite Māori LegendsISBN: 978-1-877514-56-2

Like me you may have grown up listening to stories read from storybooks by your parents. Before books there were storytellers. Many cultures had storytellers; amongst them the Maori. Stories, or myths and legends, played an important role in passing on knowledge from one generation to the next. They were also a form of entertainment which has survived through the ages and across cultures.
Libro International has published a new edition of Favourite Maori Legends, a much-loved edition of legends published in 1965 by that great collector of stories and language, A.W. Reed. Favourite Maori Legends has a RRP of $29.99 which represents exceptional value for a classic collection of over 30 of the most memorable Maori legends.
Favourite Maori Legends has been updated in this new edition of A.W Reed’s 1965 classic. It is almost 50 years on since the original edition and Ross Calman has revised the legends for the more discerning modern reader. Ross is a highly respected author and editor and is justifiably proud of this new edition of a New Zealand classic, “I worked hard to preserve the flow of the original narratives, while modernising the stories and reinstating some of the Maori language from the original sources.”
Favourite Maori Legends is a soft cover. I’ve never made my mind up as to my preference – hard cover versus soft cover. But this is a beautiful edition, a book that should grace every bookcase in New Zealand. It would also make a great gift for those countless thousands of kiwis who now live overseas. The illustrations by Roger Hart are stunning, simple black and white drawings that evoke the times the legends date from. But it is the stories themselves that will draw you into this book. Some of them will be familiar; some may be new to you. But they all take me back to nights spent in the lounge listening to my parents as they read from the well-worn pages of my favourite storybooks. Reading these legends I can well imagine family gatherings huddled around a fire as a storyteller retold the legends of their people.
The stories are grouped together in 5 sections – legends of the spirit world, ghosts, taniwha, supernatural creatures, and heroes and deeds of daring. A feature of the book is the glossary, not an extensive course in te reo but an explanation of many of the words that feature in the legends. Not that you will require a knowledge of te reo to enjoy the stories, the stories paint such vivid pictures that you will be carried along with them.

Ross Calman
I enjoyed the foreword from the original 1965 edition. A.W. Reed concludes his foreword with the following paragraph.
The legends were famous in their day. Over the years they have to a large extent been forgotten, but they should not be lost to the present and future people of Aotearoa. As we become more conscious of the contribution that Maori culture should make to our common heritage, we believe that they will again become favourite legends.
Surely as relevant today as it was when it was written nearly 50 years ago.
Favourite Maori Legends by A.W. Reed is revised by Ross Calman in this edition published by Libro International. Favourite Maori Legends has a RRP of $29.99 and is available in all good bookstores now.

Gordon Crombie for the book show on Radio Southland 96.4FM leaving you with these words from Ross Calman.
Beyond entertainment, storytelling was an important means of transmitting history, whakapapa and other knowledge. Early missionaries were staggered at the ability of Maori to memorise and retain information, which was due to this oral tradition.

I hope you can accompany me in enjoying the stories within this volume and the window they give on to the traditional Maori world.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tim Tipene inducted into Hall of Fame

Tim Tipene has been inducted into the New Zealand Martial Arts Hall of Fame. Tim is the founder of the renowned Warrior Kids programme and Master Arts classes, and is an award-winning author.

Tim, 41, became a student of martial arts at the age of 12. In 1994 he set up his own school, now called Master Arts, and began a holistic life-skills programme based on the arts for children called Warrior Kids. Tim has gone on to provide Warrior Kids to communities and schools for 18 years, changing the lives of thousands of children and their families.

Tim feels honoured to be acknowledged by the martial arts community for what he regards as his art of peace. Master Arts is a form of non-violent self protection and intervention, focusing on de-escalation and the containment of aggressive behaviour. ‘Master Arts is winning against an opponent without drawing the sword. In other words winning without the use of violence and winning without causing defeat,’ says Tim.

Warrior Kids is a Master Arts programme for children aged between 5 and 13 and follows the same message. 'If you teach a child to hit then they will hit. If you hit you get into trouble at school, you get into trouble with the law, people get hurt and you get negative consequences. That is a fact,’ comments Tim.

Warrior Kids gives children alternatives to violence, and builds up their awareness and confidence. 'The children are certainly taught self protection, but they are not taught strikes or throws, or to use pain or power over tactics.'

Tim is not sure if what he does could easily be classed as martial arts any more. 'I called it Master Arts because it is really about mastering the self,’ he comments. ‘Master Arts is the ultimate in anger management because through the training you remould the anger and the responses to anger physically and mentally. Students are taught safe and constructive ways to address problems. Master Arts is about safe homes and safe communities.'

The New Zealand Martial Arts Hall of Fame, (NZMAHOF), was established in 1995 with the aim of providing leadership in martial arts at the very highest level. The NZMAHOF Awards are held every two years to honor those Martial Artists who have contributed, served and cultivated martial arts in New Zealand in an outstanding manner. Tim will attend a ceremony in November where he will receive his award.

Tim is also the award-winning author of a number of books for children and young adults, including a manual about his Warrior Kids programme.

For more information visit or phone 021 525 450 or 09 833 9408. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Haere ra, Ray

Farewell today to Ray Richards, with the funeral at Devonport naval base for the legendary publisher, literary agent and World War II fighter pilot. Family, friends and colleagues remembered a man who gave much to publishing, writers and his many friends through an extraordinary life. 

Ray was a generous mentor and astute agent right to the end; we worked with him to publish the new Ross Calman edition of A.W. Reed's Favourite Māori Legends only last week - this was a title Ray had published first back in 1965! 

For more about Ray's contribution to NZ publishing, refer to Gavin McLean's history of Reed Publishing, Whare Raupo (Reed, 2007), and click through to Graeme Beattie's blog.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...