A new edition of a book written by arguably one of Rotorua's favourite people is to be launched this month.

Don Stafford's book Te Arawa - A History of the Arawa People tells the story of Te Arawa.

It will be launched on Wednesday August 24 at a special function for invited guests.
Described by the New Zealand History website as "authoritative" and the "definitive work" of the late Don Stafford, Te Arawa is one of the great tribal histories of New Zealand.

It tells the complete history of the Te Arawa waka and its descendants until the late nineteenth century.


Stafford, known as "Mr Rotorua" for his lifelong commitment to the history of the city and region, relates the iwi's origins in the South Pacific, migration and settlement in Aotearoa, the exploits of early ancestors, development and relations among the Arawa confederation, the arrival of Europeans and Te Arawa's participation in Maori and Pakeha warfare.

First published in 1967, Te Arawa is a monumental work of scholarship, and as a 616-page hardback is also considered an artefact.

This edition includes photographic pages, extensive whakapapa and a new foreword by Te Arawa descendant Paora Tapsell, Professor of Maori Studies at the University of Otago.

Professor Tapsell said in his foreword: "Amongst all the tribal histories Te Arawa is unique. It goes to the very heart of identity of a people reaching back to ancient times deep in the Pacific."

Stafford was born in 1927 and died in 2010. He was an historian and writer who dedicated his life and work to Rotorua and its environs. Through a long and distinguished career, he wrote more than 20 books on Rotorua and its history.

Fluent in te reo Maori, Stafford travelled on foot to every corner of Te Arawa's rohe, and played a significant role in preservation of historical sites and objects. He was Rotorua's official historian, and received honours including an MBE, CBE and honorary doctorate.

Oratia Books is publishing the new edition and will host the launch alongside the Rotorua Lakes Council and McLeod's Booksellers at the Rotorua Museum. The book will be available after that at $95.