This bibliography features books and websites that are useful in researching Wairarapa Maori history. Some also assist to understand Maori culture and pre/post European contact lifestyles.

A few important matters

Here are a few important considerations when reading Maori history.

  • Non Maori 19th and 20th century authors wrote from their own cultural perspectives where white people were seen as superior and civilised. Even people that were seen as sympathetic to Maori could not help but use their training when recording information.
  • Maori authors and speakers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries may have been interpreting events to protect the interests of their people, some information may be slanted to advantage one group of people over another.
  • A winners/losers mentality, Victorian England and Christianity had a huge influence on how history was presented. This has created stereotypes and inaccuracies that exist to today. For example it is not true that Maori men have always beaten their children and wives.
  • Does information make sense in terms of tikanga Maori. If it does not or you do not understand tikanga ask a local expert. But remember that not every Maori person has been instructed in local Maori history, just like not every New Zealander of European descent is not a farmer.
  • What is your own background and how will this influence how you interpret what you are reading? Do you believe much that is contained in articles and reports that the media focus on with regard to Maori issues.
  • Do statements make sense or don’t you know if they do? For instance there are often questionable statements made that a hapu has been in the Wairarapa for 1000 years. Once again ask a recognised expert if you are not sure.
  • Many stories and most myths have encoded messages, try to work out what a myth is trying to tell you.