Te Kōparapara: An Introduction to the Māori World

Edited by Michael Reilly, Suzanne Duncan, Gianna Leoni, Lachy Paterson, Lyn Carter, Matiu Rātima and Poia Rewi


Ka rite te kōpara e kō nei i te ata.

It is like a bellbird singing at dawn.


Like the clear morning song of te kōparapara, the bellbird, this book aims to allow the Māori world to speak for itself through an accessible introduction to Māori culture, history and society from an indigenous perspective.


In twenty-one illustrated chapters, leading scholars introduce Māori culture (including tikanga on and off the marae and key rituals like pōwhiri and tangihanga), Māori history (from the beginning of the world and the waka migration through to Māori protest and urbanisation in the twentieth century), and Māori society today (including twenty-first century issues like education, health, political economy and identity). Each chapter provides a descriptive narrative covering the major themes, written in accessible formal English, including appropriate references to te reo Māori and to the wider Pacific. Chapters are illustrated with a mixture of images, maps and diagrams as well as relevant songs and sayings.


Te Kōparapara is an authoritative and accessible introduction to the past, present and future of the Māori world for students and general readers.


Ko te manu kai i te miro nōna te ngahere, ko te manu kai i te mātauranga nōna te ao.

The bird that feasts on miro tree berries belongs to the bush, the bird that feasts on knowledge belongs to the world.



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Most of the editors research and teach at Te Tumu, the School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies at the University of Otago, one of the most significant clusters of research-active Māori Studies scholars in the country.  They live in Ōtepoti (Dunedin), in Te Waipounamu, also known as the South Island, which lies under the mana of the people of this land, Kāi Tahu. Māori who live in the southern parts of Te Waipounamu historically called the bellbird ‘te kōparapara’, and the editors have chosen this local version of the bird’s name for the book’s title to acknowledge the people of this place.

May 2018, 248 x 190 mm, 484 pages
Paperback, ISBN 9781869408671, $69.99