Author(s): R. M. McDowall
This landmark publication draws together all that has ever been written about the role of freshwater fishes in the lives of early Maori. Species such as tuna (eels), kanakana (lamprey), inanga and kokopu were of high importance in the traditional diets of Maori, who were well aware of the places and seasons in which these fish could be harvested. Bob McDowall has made it his life's work to read every word ever written on the subject of Maori fisheries, from passing references in explorers' diaries, to the significant literary achievements of Elsdon Best and Te Rangi Hiroa in the 1920s, to the recent reports of the Waitangi Tribunal. In Ikawai, all the knowledge on record is connected into a coherent account for the first time, and interpreted in the light of modern scientific knowledge of the fish fauna. As well as being highly informative, Ikawai also serves to illustrate the beauty associated with Maori fisheries. Bob has amassed an extraordinary collection of photographs of the fish themselves, of the artefacts Maori customarily used in catching fish, and of artworks by modern Maori practitioners, some reflecting the many legends and stories associated with fish. He has also unearthed some stunning and highly significant historical images that were hidden away in archives, libraries and photographic collections. This compendium is an essential resource for anyone interested in the lives and livelihood of New Zealand's earliest settlers
Bob McDowall has written widely about this fish fauna since the 1960s, and several of his books have become standard reference works. In addition, he has written extensively for the lay reader. He was for many years Manager, Freshwater Fisheries, in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, before stepping down to focus on research. He is now semi-retired, employed in a part-time capacity in the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. Bob has an MSc from Victoria University of Wellington and a PhD from Harvard University, and is Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.