Stephenson Percy Smith is seen seated, second from left, with his surveying party in their camp at the foot of Mt Tarawera in 1886. He had then spent 30 years as a surveyor, often in isolated districts in close contact with Māori. In this time he learned the Māori language and collected information on traditional Māori history and culture. In 1892 he and another former surveyor, Edward Tregear, founded the Polynesian Society. Smith later wrote a number of books on Māori history and traditions.
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