Author(s): Alison Jones; Kuni Jenkins
In early 1817 Tuai, a young Ngare Raumati chief from the Bay of Islands, set off for England. He was one of a number of Maori who, after encountering European explorers, traders and missionaries in New Zealand, seized opportunities to travel beyond their familiar shores to Australia, England and Europe in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. They sought new knowledge, useful goods and technologies, and a mutually benefi cial relationship with the people they knew as Pakeha. On his epic journey Tuai would visit exotic foreign ports, mix with teeming crowds in the huge metropolis of London, and witness the marvels of industrialisation at the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire. With his lively travelling companion Titere, he would attend fashionable gatherings and sit for his portrait. He shared his deep understanding of Maori language and culture. And his missionary friends did their best to convert him to Christianity. But on returning to his Maori world in 1819, Tuai found there were difficult choices to be made. His plan to integrate new European knowledge and relationships into his Ngare Raumati community was to be challenged by the rapidly shifting politics of the Bay of Islands. With sympathy and insight, Alison Jones and Kuni Kaa Jenkins uncover the remarkable story of one of the first Maori travellers to Europe.
A Winner in Ockham New Zealand Book Awards - Illustrated Non-Fiction Award 2018
Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds presents an evocative picture of young Māori travelling to England; their encounters with people, illness and industry there, and their return home. Tuai is empathetically written, providing the reader a window into a contested time of meeting, conversion and enterprise. The text and illustrations work in concert, presenting a rounded and rich experience for the reader, enhancing the breadth and depth of the research explored within.
Key moments are presented so richly that they envelop and captivate the imagination. The care the authors have given these histories, acknowledging the autonomy that mātauranga Māori has in wider Aotearoa historical narratives, is striking, and we need more of it.
- Ockham New Zealand Book Awards