Bravo, Neu Zeeland: Two Maori in Vienna 1859-1860

Maori Books

Wanting to know what it was like for Mäori as Päkehä settlers arrived in New Zealand in the nineteenth century, sparked Helen Hogan�s interest in Mäori language manuscripts. The Mäori language scholar studied accounts of 14 Mäori journeys for her PhD thesis, which was completed when she was 72. One of the manuscripts was a journal written by Hemara Te Rerehau, who together with his Tainui kinsman, Wiremu Toetoe sailed to Europe in 1859 on the Austrian frigate Novara. The journal, which records Te Rerehau�s impressions of nine months in Vienna, forms the central part of Hogan�s 2003 book Bravo, Neu Zeeland-Two Mäori in Vienna 1859-1860 (published by Clerestory Press in Christchurch). While in Vienna, Te Rerehau and Toetoe met the Emperor Franz Josef and learned printing and engraving in the Imperial Printery. They also met Queen Victoria and were responsible for the gifting and transport of the printing press for the King Movement Newspaper, Te Hokioi. Te Rerehau�s journal records part of their time away from New Zealand, and his impressions of a culture different not only to his own, but unlike that of the English who had settled in New Zealand. �Ka nui te atawhai o taua iwi, he karanga noa mai ki te tangata kia haere atu ki te kai. Nui atu te atawhai o taua iwi, e kï ana ahau he pënei me te Ingarihi nei te kore atawhai; nui nui nui atu te aroha o tënä iwi.� (�This people shows great hospitality; they frequently invite others to dine with them. In this respect I would say they are a very generous people; I thought they would be like the English who are not generous.�) Readings from Te Rerehau�s journal by Rangimoana Taylor, together with commentary by Helen Hogan feature in National Radio�s drama slot during Mäori Language Week. Dr Hogan, who will be 81 later this year, says that narratives like Te Rerehau�s journal provide a means of �having a conversation� with Mäori who experienced the coming together of the two cultures. The timing of the journal is also significant, being written as the land wars in Waikato�which had a lasting effect on Mäori/Päkehä relations�were unfolding. It comes out of the period when the number of Päkehä living in New Zealand overtook the Mäori population. Writing in Bravo, Neu Zeeland, Dr Hogan notes that Te Rerehau and Toetoe�s journey is a celebration ��of two young, adventurous spirits experiencing simultaneously two cultures steeped in ancient tradition but otherwise vastly different. It demonstrates reciprocated appreciation at a time when racial tolerance was a rare commodity. It is a celebration of what might have been and what might yet be.�

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