Whaikōrero: The World of Māori Oratory

Poia Rewi


‘This is a useful and long-awaited work with a great deal to offer the simply curious, the student of history and the aspiring orator.’ – Tom O’Connor, Taranaki Daily News


Anyone who has been welcomed on to a marae in New Zealand will understand that whaikōrero – oratory – is at the heart of Māori culture. Whaikōrero: The World of Māori Oratory is the first introduction to this fundamental Māori art to be widely published. It is based on broad research as well as oral histories from 30 of the leading exponents of whaikōrero, many of whom have subsequently died. Author Poia Rewi’s informants are affiliated to many iwi including Tūhoe, Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Arawa, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Awa, Waikato-Maniapoto, Te Whakatōhea, Ngā Puhi and Ngāti Whare.

In Whaikōrero, Poia Rewi assesses the origin and history of whaikōrero; its structure, language and style of delivery; who may speak; and where speech happens. Featuring a range of sample whaikōrero drawn from both oral and literary sources, the book provides examples of language for learners of Māori wishing to improve their whaikōrero skills as well as being a major resource for all readers interested in Māori culture.


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Associate Professor Poia Rewi (Tūhoe, Ngāti Manawa, Te Arawa) holds a PhD from the University of Otago and teaches in Otago’s Te Tumu: The School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, having previously taught at Waikato University for a decade. A certified translator and interpreter of Māori into English he is also a qualified teacher of English as a second language. He has been a judge at many regional Māori-language speaking competitions as well as being a judge at national, regional and tribal Māori performing arts competitions (adult/senior and high school levels).


Winner of NZSA Best First Book Awards: E. H. McCormick Award for Non-fiction 2011.


September 2010, 240 x 195 mm, 240 pages, illustrations
Paperback, ISBN 9781869404635, $45