Fishing methods and devices of the Maori

Elsdon Best
This bulletin is another in the series of reprints of the Best publications which the Government Printer has undertaken in order to make the information available to present day students at a reasonable price. It has been reprinted without revision so that these basic studies may be accessible in the original style. Elsdon Best came to the Museum in 1910 when he was already 54 years old. For the next 21 years he produced a long series of bulletins, memoirs, and monographs based largely on his own 20 years first-hand experience of the Maori people, especially the Tuhoe of the Urewera. Best supplemented his own observations with information from the literature and from observations contributed by many friends among the Maori people, and by fellow students. This particular bulletin still remains the only comprehensive account of most aspects of Maori fishing. The descriptions of methods employed in fishing given here are still quite basic for any future studies in this field, since no first-hand observations can now be made. Even in Best's time many changes from traditional practice had already taken place and some special techniques were no longer in use. The emphasis in this bulletin is upon inland and estuarine fishing methods since these were the practices which Best was obviously able to observe most closely. The detailed fishing methods outlined in this bulletin are accompanied by descriptions of the artifacts used together with associated chants, magic formulae, Special observances, and fishing lore. The list of Maori informants and reproduced Maori texts provide a wealth of information for future workers. R. K. DELL, August 1977. Director, National Museum.


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