What I read

I don't talk much about my readings here. Actually, it's because I don't read much.
But when it happens it's about issues, social subjects, biographies...

As polynesian aficionados, my husband and I willingly want to know more about our favorite theme, more than just the tiki-hawaiianna-fifties trend.

Hubby is more into music from early tahitian bands to hapa haole hawaiian bands.
I'm more into mele, hula or himene.

He googles youtube's videos to learn magic ukulele/steel guitar chords. I spend hours watching merrie monarch kahiko.

He reads about Easter Island. I read about Aotearoa*.
The big difference is that you may find interesting books about easter Island in french
but none about the history of New Zealand.

©Neil Creek

And when you have absolutely no one to help with understanding the culture or traditions, your research can be long before knowing your subject a little bit more than a tourist do and so to find the right (and if possible the most authentic and objective) book to read in a foreign language.

© Lester Hall 2013


After few weeks I decided to go for the Penguin History of New Zealand by Michael King.

New Zealand was the last country in the world to be discovered and settled by humankind. It was also the first to introduce a full democracy. Between those events, and in the century that followed the franchise, the movements and the conflicts of human history have been played out more intensively and more rapidly in New Zealand than anywhere else on Earth. This title tells that story in all its colour and drama. The narrative that emerges is an inclusive one about men and women, Maori and Pakeha.

Finally I understand quite well (or so I think !) except when it comes to politic system but I don’t even get it in french so…

I’m not finished yet but I’m still speechless about this country’s history. So young but growing so fast.
I was surprised few months ago when I read somewhere that nowadays Māori had to learn about their own ancient traditions or even language.

Samuel Marsden’s famous sermon at Hohi, with “translator” Ruatara to his right, 
has “very big question marks hanging over it”. Image/Alexander Turnbull Library.

I wanted to know what happened, who were the Māori people and the pakeha who settled in this outstanding country. And finally finding out what is the identity of New Zealand.

Well I'm not done yet with my reading but I can tell it's a very complex issue but very interesting. It obviously has nothing to do with the picture you have in mind if you live far from the pacific like me. (if you're a kiwi and keen to enlighten me, feel free to contact me, I'm into it !)

My next books will definitely be about what happened in Hawaii and then in French polynesia. 
If you have any clue for good readings, share with me !

PS :
Before I start the book, I spent few hours on youtube whatching a bunch of docos.
Here are some links :
Waitangi - What Really Happened (a good first approach of the Treaty of Waitangi fo beginners but I recommand you to go and search for more, it's a very instructive HIstory)
Waka Huia - Kapa Haka - one hour special (4 kapa haka experts who have dedicated their lives to Māori performing arts  discuss the evolution of this living treasure)
Te Matakite o Aotearoa - The Maori Land March (1975) - (In 1975 a large group (around 5000) of Māori and other New Zealanders, led by then 79-year-old woman Whina Cooper, walked the length of the North Island to Wellington to protest against Māori land loss.)

* Aotearoa is the Māori name for New Zealand BUT since the 20st century only and had been suggested by the british as Māori didn't have word to name the whole country. It was originally used in reference to the North Island.
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