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Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds – a new BWB Book

Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds – a new BWB Book by Alison Jones and Kuni Kaa Jenkins

In early 1817 Tuai, a young Ngare Raumati chief from the Bay of Islands, set off for England. He was one of a number of Māori who, after encountering European explorers, traders and missionaries in New Zealand, seized opportunities to travel beyond their familiar shores to Australia, England and Europe in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. They sought new knowledge, useful goods and technologies, and a mutually beneficial relationship with the people they knew as Pākehā.

On his epic journey Tuai would visit exotic foreign ports, mix with teeming crowds in the huge metropolis of London, and witness the marvels of industrialisation at the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire. With his lively travelling companion Tītere, he would attend fashionable gatherings and sit for his portrait. He shared his deep understanding of Māori language and culture. And his missionary friends did their best to convert him to Christianity.

But on returning to his Māori world in 1819, Tuai found there were difficult choices to be made. His plan to integrate new European knowledge and relationships into his Ngare Raumati community was to be challenged by the rapidly shifting politics of the Bay of Islands.

With sympathy and insight, Alison Jones and Kuni Kaa Jenkins uncover the remarkable story of one of the first Māori travellers to Europe.

Tuai might have forever remained a footnote in our country’s history, were it not for the diligence of Alison Jones and Kuni Kaa Jenkins. They have, in effect, breathed life into Tuai, and have given the thousands of descendants of Te Tāwheta, rangatira of Ngare Raumati and Tuai’s tupuna, an enormous sense of pride. This book is also a stark reminder of how much the tribal landscape of Te Tai Tokerau has changed.
- Te Warihi Hetaraka, Ngātiwai, Ngare Raumati, Kapotai, Ngāpuhi

The story of Tuai illuminates the wider history of early Māori travels in Europe. Wonderfully written and superbly illustrated, Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds is essential reading for anyone interested in how Māori and Pākehā encountered one another in the early nineteenth century.
- Vincent O’Malley, author of The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800–2000

Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds is a thrilling biographical narrative of a young Bay of Islands leader who grew up in the Maori world of the early nineteenth century – and crossed the globe to encounter England in the midst of the industrial revolution. This is a story about the Māori discovery of England. These voyages between worlds represented risk and opportunity: Tuai chose opportunity, and the rest is history.
• Mānuka Henare, Associate Professor, University of Auckland
About the authors
Alison Jones and Kuni Kaa Jenkins are educational researchers who share interests in the Māori origins of the first school in New Zealand, and initial Māori engagements with pen and paper. Alison, a Pākehā, is a Professor in Te Puna Wānanga, the School of Māori and Indigenous Education at the University of Auckland. Kuni, from Ngāti Porou, is a Professor in Education at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi. Their first book, He Kōrero: Words Between Us – First Māori–Pākehā Conversations on Paper (Huia, 2011) won the Ngā Kupu Ora Māori Book Awards, the PANZ Book Design Award, and the Best Book in Higher Education Publishing (Copyright Licensing New Zealand) in 2012.

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