Friday, 19 January 2007

New texts, including Tutira and Sir Peter Buck's Ethnologies

Kia ora kotou,

The New Zealand Electronic Text Centre is pleased to announce that a number of freshly-digitised New Zealand and Pacific books are now freely available online.

These titles include:

  • First Lessons in Maori, by William Leonard Williams

    Writing a review of this book in Te Ao Hou in 1968, the reviewer had this to say:

    "Although the last ten years or so have seen a very rapidly growing interest in Maori, a great improvement in teaching techniques and an increasing number of modern textbooks, this Grammar, in spite of certain weaknesses and omissions, is still the most valuable book of its kind for those interested in the structure of the language. All teachers should own and study it for, apart from the modern works of such trained linguists as Dr Bruce Biggs, Dr Pat Hohepa and J. Prytz Johansen, no subsequent grammar book of this type has added anything of significance to this pioneering work; these modern linguists would undoubtedly each acknowledge his debt to 'First Lessons' as a major reference."

  • Tutira: A New Zealand Sheep Station, by H. Guthrie-Smith

    Written in 1921, this book is a loving and detailed account of the ecology of a 40,000-head sheep station on the shores of Lake Tutira in the Hawkes Bay, and the impact of land-clearances and farming practices on the environment. It has been called "one of the great English-language classics of environmental history".

  • The Early Journals of Henry Williams 1826-1840, by Lawrence M. Rogers

    A major figure in the drafting and signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, Henry Williams was the leader of the Church Missionary Society mission in the Bay of Islands from 1823, and was instrumental in helping to familiarise the early missionaries with the Maori language.

  • Legends of the Maori, I and II, by Maui Pomare:

    "In 1911 Pomare, Ngata and Buck had agreed to divide between them aspects of the study of Maori history and ethnology; Pomare's portion was to be myths and legends. The two-volume Legends of the Maori, written in collaboration with James Cowan, was published posthumously." (from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography)

  • The Past and Present of New Zealand; with its Prospects for the Future (1868), by Rev. Richard Taylor

    A contemporary of William Williams, Richard Taylor conducted missionary work in the central North Island, particularly around the Wanganui. According to the 1966 Encyclopedia of New Zealand, "Although much of Taylor's life was devoted to his missionary work, he was an acute observer of, and a prolific writer upon, natural and ethnological phenomena."

  • Through Ninety Years 1826-1916, by Frederic W. Williams

    Notes on the lives of William and William Leonard Williams, First and Third Bishops of Waiapu.
Other books hopefully of interest to readers in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands now online include:
Any feedback on these titles, including suggestions for future digitisation, errata, and general comments are most welcome.