Kahurangi C's Reviews > Maori

Maori by Alan Dean Foster
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it was ok

Don't let my review put you off reading this book which is a good enough yarn. However, as a Kiwi of mixed Maori and Pakeha descent, whose first known Maori ancestor is reputed to have ridden here on the back of a whale and who first European ancestor came here in 1829, I found myself becoming progressively more outraged as I read Alan's reinvention of my country's history and geography. My objections are to matters of detail and timing which aren't really all that significant to the story line but do create a false impression of what happened in this country. Whoever did Alan's research was about as slack as they come. When putting real people such as Hone(Johnny) Heke and Julius Vogel into a fictional story, I'd expect their substance to be true, and it isn't. Neither is the discovery and founding of Auckland which was built on the Wai Te Mata Harbour at Tamaki Maka Rau (Tamaki of the thousand lovers) a very well known place coveted by Maori the length and breadth of the North Island and fought over many times. This officially happened in September 1840 officiated over by Governor Hobson, several years before the sacking of Kororareka. It was at a spot chosen by Captain Cook in 1769. And by the way, the natural range of kauri in NZ extends only to the base of the Coromandel peninsular and the last time it grew naturally in the South Island was about 80 million years ago, although, with global warming, its range will probably extend there in the next 50 years. Reading the reviews makes me even more mad because the clearly intrigued readers seem to be accepting the book's background as fact. My one exception is the eruption of Tarawera which Alan has done well including the tohunga and the ghost waka (canoe) although the waka was a traditional single hulled war craft not the double hulled craft that he describes. The names of most of the Maori individuals don't ring true to me either but he has grasped both Maori and Pakeha attitudes fairly well which is the best part of the book.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
February 1, 2018 – Shelved

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