Reed, A. W.
About the Author:
Born in 1908, Alexander Wyclif Reed was a noted New Zealand author and publisher. He died in 1979.
AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
2 out of 5
Maori Myths & Legendary Tales
Originally published as 'Myths and Legends of Maoriland', this is a collection of short stories based upon the myths, legends and superstitions of New Zealand's Maori people.
The book begins very well, narritively recounting the Polynesian creation myths before moving on to the legendary journeys of Aotearoa's discoverers and the strange creatures and gods they encountered. My favourite of these stories is 'Maui the Half-God', whose reckless adventures lead to the raising of New Zealand's North Island from the sea (it's still known to Maori as 'the fish of Maui') and the bringing of fire from the underworld. Maui's sense of humour and mischief is nicely balanced by his bouts of fierce wrath, making him a typical character of legend.
Sadly, as the book goes on the quality and the length of the short stories deteriorates steadily and I found the latter half to be something of a chore to read. Still, a reasonable introduction for anyone looking to learn something of Maori traditions.
2 out of 5