Prize prose completes trilogy

By Lawrence Gullery

The co-author of a book that has won a national award hopes it will stand as a tribute to the people who contributed stories forming an important social history of Porangahau.

Marina Sciascia (Ngati Kahungungu, Ngati Raukawa, Ngai Tahu), Hilary Pedersen and Brian Morris (Ngati Kahungungu, Rongowhakaata) were recognised for their work on the book, Matatoa: Fathers & Sons at the fourth annual Maori Book Awards in Palmerston North last week.

The awards, under Massey University, celebrate Maori literacy excellence over the past 12 months and Matatoa: Fathers & Sons was the recipient of the Te Hitori, or History, category.

It was released in November 2011 and is the final in a trilogy of books, following Hakui Mothers of Porangahau and Tuahine Sisters of Porangahau which had taken seven years to come to fruition.

Pedersen, who lives in Porangahau, said in each book people were invited to submit their own stories and the authors also contributed pieces and edited the books. She said the project did not start out as a trilogy but developed into one.

"It was initially a way to honour the mothers (Hakui Mothers of Porangahau) with a smaller book than the others have been, and was just a really important social history mainly told by the daughters of the mothers.

"Three years later we did Tuahine Sisters of Porangahau and then we thought we should write a book to acknowledge the fathers, (Matatoa: Fathers & Sons) and what we've ended up with is a more solid history in this latest book than the two others."

Pedersen said she particularly enjoyed reading the stories people contributed for the book.

"We would get them in the email and open them up and they were wonderful recollections. And I really think this book is a tribute to the people who have done the writing.

"So we've given people a chance to tell their stories and there are a lot of different stories in this book." There were 18 family groups and 43 stories in the book with whakapapa, genealogy, early history and personal recollections.

The 450-page book has 300 photographs and maps the beginnings of Porangahau, a significant coastal district long settled by Ngati Kere iwi and later by high-profile early colonisers.

Pedersen said the third book was the last in the series but other projects were in the pipeline regarding her own family history.

"I have my father's unpublished record of his experiences at war with the Royal New Zealand Air Force in the Solomon Islands so I will be picking that up at some stage."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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