Edward Shortland's study is an important account of Maori mythology, religion and concepts of authority. This concise book is the result of years of careful research into Maori beliefs and customs, based on narratives and songs dictated to the author, or written down for him to translate. It includes a particularly detailed account of Maori cosmogony, lists of Maori vocabulary relating to kinship and to the spirit world, several karakia (prayers) and extensive notes on the naming and claiming of land and the Maori understanding of land tenure.
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Edward Shortland (1812 – 1893) was a notable New Zealand doctor, administrator, scholar and linguist.
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