Wonder Tales of Maoriland

Wonder Tales of Maoriland by A W Reed (published by A H & A W Reed, New Zealand, 1964)

Ian’s book, introduced by Tessa Waite

This book was brought in to The Story of Books in Hay-on-Wye as part of Tessa Waite’s residency, Story Power. Here Tessa posts about the book and memory of the book shared by Carolyn. Only first names are used in this series of A Book a Day in Hay. Thank you to all those who brought books in and contributed to this project. Tessa Waite has created artists books based on the memories shared with her and these are currently on display at The Story of Books, 20, Castle Street in Hay-on-Wye. 

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Ian called in to tell me about Wonder Tales of Maoriland by A W Reed, illustrated by A S Paterson. Ian was living in New Zealand with his family and this book of stories about Maori life and Maori creation myths was read to him and his younger brother. This was a precious book to be treated with care, there was a sense of reverence when it appeared. It had been covered in plastic by his mother, with black tape added to each edge to provide extra protection against damage to the pages. It was a book to be read and shared in the evening, which suited the atmosphere of many of the stories.

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Rev Ian Charlesworth is the Rector of five rural parishes centred on Llyswen, near Hay-on-Wye

These  stories gave Ian a rich sense of the Maori culture, history and landscape, though he recognises that they may have been westernised as reflected by the illustrations. On returning to the UK in the early 1970s, he realised that his cultural references were very different to those of his peers and that there was a value in having had experience of such a contrasting country in terms of its history and traditions. The book is still in Ian’s possession.

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