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Maori-English Tutor and Vade Mecum — Henry M. Stowell (1911)

The first Māori grammar book written by a Māori author, Henry Matthew Stowell of Ngāpuhi, who sometimes published under the name Hare Hongi.

Publication details

Stowell, H. M. Maori-English Tutor and Vade Mecum. Christchurch: Whitcombe and Tombs, 1911.

About the book

Henry Matthew Stowell was born in Waimate North, Bay of Islands in 1859, the son of John Stowell and Huhana, a high-born woman of Ngāpuhi. Stowell attended school in Parnell in Auckland and continued his education at the Wesleyan Native Institution in Three Kings. Stowell subsequently worked as a surveyor in Northland and eventually as an interpreter for the Native Land Court. An important influence in his life was time he spent in Waitaha near Ahipara, absorbing Māori lore from the tohunga Nga Kuku Mumu; whom Stowell later described as his first and grandest mentor. Stowell’s abiding interest thereafter was the acquisition of traditional Māori knowledge, in particular mythology, genealogy and cosmology.

Maori-English Tutor and Vade Mecum published in 1911, is the first Māori grammar written by a Māori author and was intended as a book for ready reference. As well as Māori grammar, the book contains an array of Māori customary topics such as; ailments and diseases, sport and past times, tohunga, the lore of tapu, marriage customs and land tenure.

Further information 


This publication is part of the series Te Takarangi: Celebrating Māori publications - a sample list of 150 non-fiction books produced by a partnership between Royal Society Te Apārangi and Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga.