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About the book
  • Published: 7 May 2019
  • ISBN: 9780143772965
  • Imprint: RHNZ Vintage
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $38.00


Maori Myths Retold by Maori Writers

Ranginui, Papatuanuku, Maui, Tawhaki . . . our enduring stories retold.

A lively, stimulating and engaging retelling of purakau - Maori myths - by contemporary Maori writers.

Ka mua, ka muri . . .

Ancient Maori creation myths, portrayals of larger-than-life heroes and tales of engrossing magical beings have endured through the ages. Some hail back to Hawaiki, some are firmly grounded in New Zealand and its landscape. Through countless generations, the stories have been reshaped and passed on. This new collection presents a wide range of traditional myths that have been retold by some of our best Maori wordsmiths. The writers have added their own creativity, perspectives and sometimes wonderfully unexpected twists, bringing new life and energy to these rich, spellbinding and significant taonga.

Take a fresh look at Papatuanuku, a wild ride with Maui, or have a creepy encounter with Ruruhi-Kerepo, for these and many more mythical figures await you.

Explore the past, from it shape the future . . .

The contributors are: Jacqueline Carter, David Geary, Patricia Grace, Briar Grace-Smith, Whiti Hereaka, Keri Hulme, Witi Ihimaera, Kelly Joseph, Hemi, Kelly, Nic Low, Tina Makereti, Kelly Ana Morey, Paula Morris, Frazer Rangihuna, Renee, Robert Sullivan, Apirana Taylor, Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Clayton Te Kohe, Hone Tuwhare, Briar Wood.

  • Pub date: 7 May 2019
  • ISBN: 9780143772965
  • Imprint: RHNZ Vintage
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $38.00

Praise for Purakau

“. . . it is a rewarding collection of re-examinations, re-interpretations and, of course, re-creations. It begins in darkness with creation myths and gradually lights up a whole world of ancestors, gods and monsters. . . There is more humour here than you might find in a collection of myths from many other cultures. . . "A collection of Maori myths in updated versions" is one of those ideas that seems blindingly obvious when someone finally gets around to having it. The editors and publishers have brought it to fruition with energy and skill.”

North & South

“Ihimaera and Hereaka have created an anthology of pre-existing versions and newly commissioned works. At 400 pages, it is the most comprehensive recent encounter with the characters and stories of Maori oral culture, reconfigured for a new world. The updates can be startling. In Maui Goes to Hollywood, David Geary takes the archetypal trickster, and couples him with Elvis and Marilyn Monroe, Santa Monica beach, ATMs, the Warriors, cocaine, and the Manly Sea Eagles. It is an audacious revision, which captures perfectly the mythic hero's personality and energy in a bright pop-art, post-modern explosion. . . Recontextualisation is an important feature of the anthology and a vivid tradition is revealed by juxtaposition.”

David Herkt, Dominion Post

“This is a modern keepsake to treasure and find a new way to connect with myth and legend.”

Kapiti News

“. . . this excellent collection of foundational stories of Maori mythology, which are mostly set in strikingly modern or everyday contexts. . . . Witi Ihimaera and Whiti Hereaka have assembled a dream team of mostly well-known Maori writers who have taken to their brief with vigour and imagination. . . . Each of the stories, in its own way, shines a new light on another facet of te ao Maori and reminds us of how special this land is.”

Peter Calder, NZ Listener

Discover More

The drawing of a tokotoko, the walking–talking stick held by speakers on the marae, depicts the versions of the creation myth that tells of Tāne separating Ranginui and Papatūānuku.