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Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds – Alison Jones and Kuni Kaa Jenkins (2017)

The life and experiences of Tuai, one of the most prominent pre-Treaty Māori travellers, has provided rich material for this successful shortlisted book for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2018.

Publication details

Jones. A. and Kaa Jenkins, K. Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds. Wellington: Bridget Williams Books, 2017.

About the book

Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds, written by Professor Alison Jones, from the University of Auckland, and Kuni Jenkins (Ngāti Porou), a Professor in Education at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, is the story of Tuai, a remarkable young Ngare Raumati chief from the Bay of Islands, born about 1797, who actively contributed to European knowledge of Māori language and culture well before the Treaty of Waitangi.

In 1817 Tuai boarded a ship and set off into the unknown with his friend and companion Tītere. Their journey to England would expose them to a succession of exotic ports, foreign customs and industrialised cities, where they would share their knowledge of Māori language and culture, hope to learn new skills and acquire goods to take back home. Tuai’s story is extraordinary, as is his character – an open-minded traveller adeptly navigating different cultures.

Alison Jones and Kuni Kaa Jenkins weave an engaging biographical narrative through the wider historical context of the first encounters between Māori and Pakeha, both here and overseas. Jones and Kaa Jenkins’ meticulous research has produced a work that is not only insightful and scholarly but gives Tuai the historical agency and attention he deserves.

Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds has been shortlisted for the 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for illustrated non-fiction.

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.