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This book sets before the reader a compilation of printed and manuscript information on the healing practices of the New Zealand Maori. It does not claim to be complete, indeed this is impossible, and probably always was, given the secrecy surrounding the rituals, practices and healing methods of individual iwi and tribes. The noted ethnologist Elsdon Best acknowledged that even in his day, when discussion could be held with persons of great knowledge, only a mere fraction of understanding could be obtained by a non-Maori researcher of the philosophies of the learned tohunga of pre-Euroman times. Therefore, the first part of the book entitled "Maori Healing and Health Topics'' incomplete as it must be, is particularly valuable since it draws together all the available information on spiritual healing, then directs the reader to the relevant herbs. The "Maori herbal remedies'' section includes over 200 plants, some not previously identified as having been used for ritual or herbal purposes. The number of plants listed and the extensive information available help refute the suggestion that the New Zealand Maori learnt of the healing properties of plants from European settlers. The argument is continued in the introductory pages of this book. Again, information has been drawn from a myriad of sources, but there will be some omissions due to information having been lost or withheld because of its sacred nature. In all cases the exact words of informants and writers are quoted, translations from Maori being undertaken for the most part by Tairongo Amoamo of the Whakatöhea tribe. The book is particularly useful to nature enthusiasts and botanists as colour photographs are included for the first time of a number of rare species of plants.

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  • Seller location: Levin, Manawatu, NZ

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