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Ngā Pēpeha a ngā Tīpuna

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Ngā Pepeha a ngā Tīpuna – Hirini Moko Mead & Neil Grove

Kia mau ki te kupu a tou matua.
Hold fast to the words of your father.

First published in 2001 Ngā Pēpeha a ngā Tīpuna is a collection of more than 2500 sayings of the ancestors. Neil Grove and Hirini Moko Mead spent more than twenty years collecting and compiling these pēpeha from all over New Zealand inviting comment and contributions from all who read and used their early volumes.

Pēpeha are not just proverbs; the term includes charms, witticisms, figures of speech and boasts. Neither are they historical relics; they feature in the formal speeches heard every day on the marae, and in the oral literature handed down from past generations.

The pēpeha also provide a rich source of language. Their use of metaphor and their economy of words show language that enriches the textbook Māori of today. Sir Apirana Ngata wrote, ‘In former times a wealth of meaning was clothed within a word or two as delectable as a proverb in its poetical form and in its musical sound.’

In a sense it is a rare privilege to be able to reach out to the ancestors and touch their minds, but this book also allows the ancestors to reach down, as it were, to the people of New Zealand.

Winner of the Reference and Anthology category of the 2002 Montana NZ Book Awards

Format: This book is a Paper back

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About the Authors:

Hirini Moko Mead (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Tūhourangi) is a prominent Māori writer and commentator. Author of over 70 books, papers and articles, he was Foundation Professor of Māori studies at Victoria University of Wellington and was closely involved in establishing Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiārangi in Whakatane.

A scholar of rare expertise of Māori language, culture and history. Hirini was made a distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2007 for his service to Māori and to Education. This was upgraded to a knighthood in 2009.

Neil Grove became interested in te reo Māori while serving as Secretary to the Anglican Diocese in Wellington from 1973 and 1978. He began learning te reo and went on to obtain a master’s degree in Māori studies at Victoria University of Wellington. During his graduate work, he began research in Māori proverbs, continuing this project until his death in 1999.


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