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Restoring the mana of a manuscript: Tamihana Te Rauparaha’s life of Te Rauparaha

Date: Wednesday 2 December 2020, 12:10pm to 1pm
Cost: Free
Contact details: ATLOutreach@dia.govt.nz
Part of the Public History Talk — 2020 series

‘He Pukapuka Tātaku i ngā Mahi a Te Rauparaha Nui’ is an account of Te Rauparaha’s life written in the late 1860s. In this talk, the book’s translator and editor Ross Calman will discuss some of the challenges he faced in interpreting the manuscript for a modern audience.

Written account of Te Rauparaha’s life

He Pukapuka Tātaku i ngā Mahi a Te Rauparaha Nui is a 50,000-word account of Te Rauparaha’s life written by his son Tamihana Te Rauparaha in the late 1860s. A rich source of Ngāti Toa history, language and culture, it offers fascinating insights into traditional Māori society and the tumultuous history of the 1820s and 1830s.

This was an era characterised by intertribal conflict and the redrawing of the tribal map of Aotearoa, as well as by early encounters between Māori and Europeans that were largely conducted on Māori terms.

Hear from the translator and editor

Tamihana’s account of his father’s life has now been published in full for the first time in a parallel Māori/English edition. In this talk, the book’s translator and editor Ross Calman will discuss the historical context that led to the creation of Tamihana’s manuscript, give an overview of how the manuscript has been represented by various writers and translators over the past 150 years and describe some of the challenges he faced in interpreting the manuscript for a modern audience.

Free public history talks

These free public history talks are a collaboration between the National Library of New Zealand and Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage. They are usually held on the first Wednesday of the month March to November.

Talks in this series are recorded and available online

About the speaker

Ross Calman (Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Raukawa-ki-te-tonga, Ngāi Tahu) is a Wellington-based writer, editor and translator, and a descendant of Te Rauparaha. His other works include Te Tiriti o Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi (with Mark Derby and Toby Morris), The New Zealand Wars, The Reed Book of Māori Mythology(with A. W. Reed) and The Māori Picture Dictionary (with Margaret Sinclair). He Pukapuka Tātaku i ngā Mahi a Te Rauparaha Nui / A Record of the Life of the Great Te Rauparaha by Tamihana Te Rauparaha is to be published by Auckland University Press in November 2020.

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Drawing of Te Rauparaha on a bookcover. Cover of He Pukapuka Tātaku I Ngā Mahi A Te Rauparaha Nui Nā Tamihana Te Rauparaha | A Record of the Life Of The Great Te Rauparaha translated and edited by Toss Calman (Auckland University Press, 2020)