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Evans, Jeff: Waka Taua The Maori War Canoe.

[dagger][dagger] EVANS, Jeff Waka Taua The Maori War Canoe Libro International (Oratia Media Ltd), 2013 (2002) 76pp NZ$34.99 pbk ISBN 9781877514401 SCIS 1627160

There is nothing like a meticulous examination of a cultural icon that both informs the reader, and through the passion of the researcher/ writer, brings excitement too. This text does this and, given the significance of the waka to Maori, this text might have considerable mileage for young Maori lads who are not that much into reading. Indeed, given that rowing and sailing are national obsessions, this text might well have a larger audience. There is no question that the war canoe impressed early sailors and settlers and may well have brought a great sense of awe and wonder, let alone fear. Visualise the choral perfection of 100 sailors chanting and moving, shouting and swaying to the rhythm of community action. The boat itself is a work of art and engineering (as can be seen in Te Papa or on Waitangi Day celebrations). However, the waka is more than an object: it has mana that is very much of the spiritual and tribal world of Maori, connected intimately with a sense of place. There are three main chapters: the renaissance of Waka Taua in the contemporary world, the building and parts of the canoe design and construction, and the specific techniques of paddling. Coupled with an appendix on paddling instructions and a glossary, this is a substantial text for those interested in the subject. Perhaps a limiting factor is the dominant use of black and white photography (understandable given many of the historic artefacts used), but some high quality, gloss images might have brought more visual drama to what is an awesome work of art.

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Author:McKenzie, John
Publication:Reading Time
Article Type:Book review
Date:Nov 1, 2013
Words:291
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