The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 8 (December 1, 1933)
Among the Books
Following on my recent reference to the unique history of Vol. 1 of “Legends of the Maori,” it came as a pleasant surprise to hear that Harry H. Tombs Ltd. has reached an agreement with the executor of the late Sir Maui Pomare, James Cowan and Stuart Peterson (authors and illustrator respectively of the originally planned work) to complete Vol. II. of the series. The volume will contain the whole of the writings of the late Sir Maui and will be edited by James Cowan, the author of Vol. I. Mr. Cowan states: “‘You will find something here that no one else has got,’ said Sir Maui, when handing me his notes of Tainui tribal history to be edited for this volume, shortly before he left New Zealand on the last voyage. His description of the narrative was justified, for his story of the Tainui migration from Tahiti to this country and the doings of the Polynesian sailors’ descendants is more complete than any account previously published, and contains details that the tribal sages had revealed only to Pomare. It forms the most valuable portion of the volume. Sir Maui's story, which I have called the Saga of Tainui, covers the history of the West Coast people, whose headquarters were Kawhia Harbour, from the arrival of their sailing canoe there to the era just before the coming of the pakeha, a period of five centuries. Not only is this section of the book a history of the ancestors from whom Sir Maui was descended; it also gives us a series of perfect pictures of ancient Maori life, in peace and war. The second section reveals our old friend as an artist in short stories of Maori life—pakeha and Maori life, too—little tales of New Zealand, ancient and modern; a story-teller with a lively appreciation of dramatic values. The pity is that he did not write more, from his limitless mind-store of contes, sometimes tragic but more often strongly tinged with that acute sense of humour, those chuckling fun-loving ways that were so characteristic of his kindly nature even when he lay suffering almost constant pain.”
The new volume will be published early in the New Year, and will be limited, like Volume I., to 300 copies.
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Mr. Cecil H. Winter, better known to many readers throughout Australia and New Zealand as “Riverina,” a writer of appealing verse and stories, tells me that he recently received a shock during the screening of an Australian talkie on Southland. Most of the final scenes of the picture centre round a song with appropriate scenes in France. The song was his version of “Madamoiselle from Armentiers” lifted holus bolus from his volume of verse “The Story of Bidgee Queen,” without any acknowledgments and without permission from the author.
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Two more periodicals made their first footing recently. “The Tatler,” an illustrated weekly, has its origin in Christchurch, and “Point Blank,” the official organ of the N.Z. Farmers’ Union, is published in Stratford. In the latter, Ken. Alexander contributes an effective cartoon.
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New Zealand writers and artists found a very limited field for the production of their work when they came to try out the Xmas Annuals this year. “The Editor regrets” was in many cases not a reflection on the merit of the work submitted, but a simple confession that he could not afford to pay for work published. Some editors, more happily situated paid, and paid well. Others, following the dictates of their directors, imported slabs of syndicated matter; others gave contributors solely “the honour and glory” of appearing in print.
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Coming to some of the Annuals themselves. Brett's produced a noteworthy issue with a fine colour plate from a painting by Mr. Goldie. J. C. Hill's double spread in colour of New Zealand statesmen, past and present, gives further striking evidence of his development as a caricaturist. Among other features the number contains an article and a poem by the brilliant Alan E. Mulgan. Another Annual worthy of notice is “Rata.” the contents of this year's issue being another testimony to the discriminating task and judgment of its editor, C. A. Marris. The colour and photographic blocks are excellent. Then we have “Tui's Annual,” with its irresistible appeal to the farming community. General well known New Zealand writers appear in this year's issue, among them, Misses E. Mary Gurney, Alice Kenny and Una Currie.page 52
Nellie M. Scanlan's third book of her New Zealand Saga, of which “Pencarrow” (now in its sixth impression) was the first, and “Tides of Youth” (recently published and already in its second impression) was the second, will be published early in 1934 under the title, “Winds of Heaven.” Jarrold's, London, will be the publishers.