A compelling, rich and lush blend of essay, poetry, reflections and personal stories by one of New Zealand’s most preeminent Māori writers.
I have to admit that I didn’t know much about Haare Williams before picking up this book in Te Papa Museum in Wellington. This is a definitive collection of Māori wisdom that is equally at home on the bedside table of New Zealanders (Pākehā and Māori) as well a companion guide to Māori life an identity for more recent migrants to Aotearoa who are seeking to understand the true nature and soul of what it means to be Māori.
I would say that by extension of reading this book, you will also discover your own spiritual connection to time, place, people and community wherever you are – also known as tūrangawaeware. There is a spiritual weight and heft to this book that is capable of eliciting gasped intakes of breathe at the beauty of the language Williams uses.
His words are richly and delicately woven like harakeke (flax) with the meaning, soul and mauri essence of what it means to be Māori in the world in the 21st Century. The storytelling and prose in ‘Words of a Kaumātua’ are broad-stroke enough to resonate with anyone living anywhere in the world, with a love of amazing and evocative writing. If you enjoy reading about culture, history, family and the ancient ties that bind us all in to place, people and memory, then you will love this book.
Even if you don’t have whānau (family) and tīpuna (ancestry) here in New Zealand, you will treasure this book. Written in both Te Reo Māori and English, sounding out the Te Reo words is a real treat for the senses.
This is a timeless collection of sweeping essays, personal stories, karakia (prayers) and lamentations on everything from earthy, evocative landscapes, the ancient patheon of capricious gods including Tāne and Tangaroa, the Treaty of Waitangi, the Māori Land Wars, modern love, family and everything else in between. Highly recommended.
Whakarongo ki te Au
Listen to an interview with him on RNZ about Words of a Kaumātua
Read more and purchase from Auckland University Press or from Te Papa Museum shop.