Monday, November 2, 2009

Books & Stories

I got three terrific little books out of the library last week – that’s them up above. My favourite is ‘he kete he korero – every kete has a story’ – a kete being the traditional Maori woven basket that I feature here on this blog with probably monotonous frequency. I love them and they DO all tell a story through their unique designs, weaving patterns and colours, through the people who have woven them and the materials used. This book, written by Toi Te Rito Maihi and Maureen Lander (Reed Publishing), gives you a charming insight into the weaving practices and kete of 21 artists up and down the country, all from different tribal backgrounds. Gorgeous photographs and intimate stories – definitely a must-read if you’re interested in traditional Maori crafts. Nga Waka Maori – Maori Canoes (ILP Books) by Anne Nelson, is also excellent for its appraisal of Maori marine technology developed in ancient times, through to 20th century waka making. I love the inclusion of early photographs from the 1930s, the racing and regattas, the historical drawings and the modern renaissance of waka carving – all marvellous stuff. Margaret Orbell’sThe Natural World of the Maori’ (David Bateman) is also a good read. It details the plants, trees, marine life, birds and land animals that have always played a significant role in Maori life and diet; and the hunting and gathering practices they used to get them. I wish I had more free hours to sit and read my way through from start to finish.

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