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Home > Categories > Books > Educational > Tikanga: An introduction to te ao Maori review

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Score: 10.0/10  [1 review]
5 out of 5
ProdID: 8956 - Tikanga: An introduction to te ao Maori
Written by Keri Opai

Tikanga: An introduction to te ao Maori
Sample/s Supplied by:
Click to search for all products supplied by Upstart Press

Disclosure StatementFULL DISCLOSURE: A number of units of this product have, at some time, been provided to KIWIreviews by Upstart Press or their agents for the sole purposes of unbiased, independent reviews. No fee was requested, offered nor accepted by KIWIreviews or the reviewers themselves - these are genuine, unpaid consumer reviews.
October 2021

Tikanga: An introduction to te ao Maori product reviews

Proud to promote NZ productsThis is an accessible beginner's guide to the Maori universe with all the subtleties, idiosyncrasies, and nuances of the culture. Readers are guided as they enter the wharenui and learn to appreciate some of the language and traditions of Aotearoa.

Tikanga is the Maori way of doing things - the customary practices and values that are expressed in every social context. This is a book that will resonate with Maori who wish to revisit and consolidate their own language and cultural practices as well as with Pakeha New Zealanders and new immigrants who have recently arrived in our country and wish to know more about its unique background and traditions.

Check out Upstart Press onlineClick here to see all the listings for Upstart Press Visit their website They do not have a Twitter account Check them out on Facebook They do not have a YouTube Channel They do not have a Pinterest board They do not have an Instagram channel They do not have a TikTok channel

culture   custom   language   maori   te ao maori   te reo maori   tikanga   traditions   values   nzmade
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Click here to read the profile of savta

Review by: savta (Jo)
Dated: 12th of December, 2021

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This Review: 10/10
Value for Money:
Score 10 out of 10
Score 10 out of 10
Easy to Understand:
Score 10 out of 10
Personal Choice:
Score 10 out of 10

This is possibly the best guide to te ao Maori that I have had the privilege to read. Not only is it a storehouse of knowledge, but the presentation demands attention long before the book is actually opened. Glossy pages, clear print, a two-page themed photographic layout at the beginning of each chapter, the occasional passage highlighted in green with white text to illustrate or summarise a point, and section headings (also in green), make the content truly accessible. Either way, this is a book which belongs on every bookshelf as a source of reference and a work of art in itself, thanks to Tania Niwa's outstanding photography.

Having judged the outside of the book, we now started to look at the contents! There were three of us involved in this process - two Pakeha and one Maori. Both Pakeha have mainly Maori extended family. I grew up speaking Te Reo, although I am by no means as fluent as I would like to be. My partner, also Pakeha, has completed several courses in Te Reo at Te Wananga o Aotearoa and is keen to become more fluent and to gain a greater knowledge of tikanga Maori. Our friend rediscovered her culture as a young adult and is fast making up for lost time. All three of us, with varying levels of knowledge, were keen to see what the book had to offer us.

Our first observation was that the content is very easy to read. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced learner - or indeed, a new immigrant who is learning from the very start - each concept is explained clearly with contextual examples. Keri Opai refers regularly to his own life and experiences, including the devastation experienced by his grandfather when, as a child, he was humiliated for being unable to speak English at school. (Given that one of the basic lessons of the book is that respect is fundamental in te ao Maori, it is sad that our history contains so many similar stories of disrespect and institutional bullying.) It is this regular personal input that raises this book from being "just" a reference book to an engaging narrative that is so readable.

There are sections on many aspects of Maori life, including the important point that there are regional variations in many areas - not just words, but also attitudes. I remember as a child being taught never to clap at the end of a waiata because it was disrespectful, and to this day I still find it strange when the people around me all start clapping and calling out. My partner's family are Ngai Tahu, and some of their words are quite foreign to me - I have had to relearn many words over the years. My own extended family is Ngati Tuwharetoa, but we are living on Tainui land! Our friend, who read the book along with us, is Tainui too. This is something that many Pakeha, whether locals or recent immigrants, may not understand - that Maori are not just one people. I like the way that Opai's book explains this!

The sections on tangihanga, tapu vs noa, marae protocol, and the effects of colonisation on religion and attitudes are both useful and fascinating. All three of us learned something new, and found we were inspired to continue this journey of inquiry. I was intrigued by Opai's assertion that if Aotearoa were truly bicultural there would be no need for this book! I had to think about that one, and yes, I agree - it is filling a gap that in an ideal world should not be there. My hope is that as a nation we are all on a continuum towards closing that gap.

One comment that came up was that there is a place for a glossary at the end. Although all the Maori words are unpacked in context, it is difficult for the reader to remember everything at once, especially if the book is not being read in one sitting. Again, in the truly bicultural and bilingual world, this would not be necessary - but a glossary is a tool and a means to an end. A Pakeha tool perhaps, but a useful one nonetheless. And finally - the last chapter had all of us laughing together. Humour is a powerful educator. This is not a book we will easily forget.

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