First published in 1882, Edward Shortland's study is an important account of Maori mythology, religion and concepts of authority. Shortland (1812-93), an English-born physician and ethnographer, first arrived in New Zealand in 1841 to work for the newly formed colonial government. He later served as a government interpreter, Sub-Protector of Aborigines, and Native Secretary during his time in New Zealand and spent much of his career interacting with Maori. This concise book is the result of years of careful research into Maori beliefs and customs, based on narratives and songs dictated to Shortland, or written down for him to translate. It includes a particularly detailed account of Maori cosmogony, lists of Maori vocabulary relating to kinship and to the spirit world, several karakia (prayers) and extensive notes on the naming and claiming of land and the Maori understanding of land tenure.
Publisher: Cambridge Library Collection