Story: Māori non-fiction and scholarship – ngā tuhinga me te rangahau

Page 5. Protest and activism

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In the late 1960s and early 1970s social activism was on the rise around the world. Māori activism in New Zealand focused on urbanisation, land alienation, loss of language and culture, and racism. International and local thought and writing was influential, and soon Māori were writing their own works in support of radical movements.

Te ao hurihuri

In 1975 Te ao hurihuri, a book of Māori perspectives edited by Pākehā historian Michael King, was published. It was unique in that all of the authors were Māori. The subject matter was broad, including a foreword on learning and tapu by Te Uira Manihera, Ngoi Pēwhairangi and John Rangihau, as well as essays on language and marae protocol by Tīmoti Karetu, Māori perspectives on death by Harry Dansey and understanding oral traditions by Ranginui Walker.

Activist publications

In the early 1980s a series of articles on Māori sovereignty by Donna Awatere appeared in the feminist magazine Broadsheet. In 1984 Māori sovereignty was published as a book. Te Ringa Mangu (Dun) Mihaka and Diane Patricia Prince’s book Whakapohane appeared the same year. It was about Mihaka’s experiences after performing the traditional insult of whakapohane (baring his buttocks) to the visiting Prince and Princess of Wales, and his ensuing trial in the criminal justice system.

Treaty of Waitangi perspectives

In 1989 Hugh Kawharu edited a book on Māori and Pākehā perspectives of the treaty. Māori contributors included Kawharu, Waerete Norman, Tipene O’Regan, Ranginui Walker, Mason Durie and Bruce Biggs.

In 1990, 150 years after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, Ranginui Walker’s seminal book Ka whawhai tonu mātou: struggle without end was published. A Māori narrative of New Zealand, it countered New Zealand histories which put Māori at the margins and in the footnotes, instead placing them at the forefront of the story.

Māori columnists

Few Māori have written as opinion columnists for mainstream publications. Most well-known for this was Ranginui Walker, who produced (often controversial) columns for the New Zealand Listener and Metro magazine in the 1980s. Later Māori columnists included Rawiri Taonui, who won best New Zealand columnist on Māori issues in 2007 and 2008. Other columnists have included Tahu Pōtiki (Ngāi Tahu), Malcolm Mulholland (Ngāti Kahungunu) and Peter Moeahu.

How to cite this page:

Basil Keane, 'Māori non-fiction and scholarship – ngā tuhinga me te rangahau - Protest and activism', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/maori-non-fiction-and-scholarship-nga-tuhinga-me-te-rangahau/page-5 (accessed 20 October 2019)

Story by Basil Keane, published 22 Oct 2014