Tides of Kawhia – second edition
Tides of Kawhia – second edition
The first of a trilogy tells the story of a boy born into slavery in the highly stratified Maori society of pre-European New Zealand who grows into manhood in and around Kawhia. He is named Te Rou Rou and learns all the skill of the young men of Ngati Toarangatira including weaponry.
Second Edition Published 2020.
In the late eighteenth century, Kawhia is the prosperous heart of the people of Ngati Toarangatira. But, beyond the borders ominous changes threaten to drive the iwi from their coastal stronghold. In the north, Nga Puhi acquire muskets, and to the east the Waikato tribes cast envious eyes on the bountiful waters and forests of Kawhia. Into this mix the child Maui Potiki is born. He is later called Te Rauparaha, a name that today ripples down the pages of New Zealand history. The young Te Rauparaha uses his wits, courage and audacity to become a military strategist, accomplished politician and tribal leader. Sharing his exploits is Te Rou Rou, born into slavery who, like the young man of rank, uses intelligence to improve his status in the often dangerous tribal life of the time. When simmering animosities between the inland peoples explode into all-out-war, hundreds of warriors are left on the battlefield. In Tides of Kawhia, deadly fights and ancient Maori ritual mingle with delicate poetry and an impetuous hot-blooded people, bringing to life a period of history and a society unknown to many.
When Tides of Kawhia was published in 2004 it got a mixed reception. Most reviewers enjoyed the accuracy of the history, their comments are included below, but a few were horrified at the apparent relentless violence of the story.
The book was quickly sold out and there have been a number of requests for a second edition. Before I undertook that task I wanted to address some of the negative comments I had received. In my discussions with knowledgeable kaumatua and other historians it was made very clear that there was no issue with the accuracy of the narrative.
They assured me that early Maori society was no more violent than the Vikings of Scandinavia, the Saxons of England or the clan /tribal societies of early Scotland and Ireland. Early Maori society and warfare, which had strict rules of engagement, were certainly much less violent than the world wars of 1914-18 and 1939-49 in which some of the nations of Europe recognised few rules of civilised conflict.
Therefore, in consultation with kaumatua, I have corrected some of the chronology and translations but the story remains unchanged.
Reviews of Tides of Kawhia
The novel’s message, that Maori lost too many lives, not to mention their way, in the blood lust, is strong. –Otago Daily Times
O’Connor’s resource list is extensive … the major points in the story are accurate and not rooted in the post-colonial humbug that has coloured much of our written and taught history. – Waikato Times
Offers an edifying window into the customs of pre-European Maori in matters of slavery, cannibalism, status, marriage, ritual, war [and] food. – Dominion Post
… will go down well with those who enjoy plenty of bodice (or piupiu) ripping … at the same time as learning quite a lot of historical and cultural facts … – Wairarapa Times-Age
… an intriguing insight into the daily routine of traditional Maori life. – Gisborne Herald
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