Te Puea Herangi, whom Professor John Pocock identified as 'possibly the most influential woman in our political history', wanted an honest biography of her turbulent life. 'I want the truth told and nothing but the truth,' she told a Pakeha journalist. Michael King has written such a book. He did so with the full support of Te Puea's tribe, Tainui, and of her surviving family and protégés.
When this book first appeared in 1977 it was hailed as the best book written by or about a New Zealander. The Oxford History of New Zealand Literature said it was so far an advance on anything published previously that it was without precedent. It remains so.