Inspired by the work of late historian Don Stafford, one Rotorua author has released his own book and a free copy has been given to schools across Te Arawa.

Koutu local Raimona Inia recently completed his own local history book, called E Oho.

The 325-page book is dedicated to the histories and stories of the Te Arawa people.

"I met the late Don Stafford and he encouraged me in my passion of local history," Inia said.

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"He inspired me going through school."

Stafford's own book Te Arawa was first published 51 years ago.

During his teenage years, Inia was tasked with taking the nanas to hui and tangi and on those journeys, he began to pick up their stories.

Ellen Tamati, Nanny Kawekura Samuels and Lena Tumata at the book launch. Photo / Supplied
Ellen Tamati, Nanny Kawekura Samuels and Lena Tumata at the book launch. Photo / Supplied

Once he finished high school he began collecting and collating as much information he could.

"With a lot of the elders passing on now, it sparked a need in me to give something back," Inia said.

The book details the origins of Te Arawa as an iwi, the journey from Hawaiki, the battles and the movement into Rotorua, he said.

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"I'm giving as much information back as I can.

"A lot of the material was family stories that haven't been recorded in books before."

The book was officially launched in Maketu on August 12 in a ceremony and blessing which paid tribute to the people who had contributed.

"I specifically invited the descendants of those who shared the stories and the last of those elders I worked with on this," Inia said.

Tamara Simpkins (left), Lynda Vercoe, Sean Vercoe and Iris Kirimaoa with their copies of the book. Photo / Supplied
Tamara Simpkins (left), Lynda Vercoe, Sean Vercoe and Iris Kirimaoa with their copies of the book. Photo / Supplied

"I really want our generation to understand the importance of sitting with our old people and talking to them.

"They want stimulation and they want to be involved, but they've been forgotten."

Inia has donated a free copy of the book to schools across Te Arawa, from Maketu to Taupō.

For everyone else, the book is being distributed privately and through the Kai Cafe.

"The objective was to give them away for free, but people kept giving me huge koha so I had to put a price on it," Inia said.

He thanked Ngāti Pikiao pakeke, Te Taheke marae, Piki Thomas, Nikki, Aneta, Courtenay, Ngaroimata, Sweety, Watu Mihinui, Josie Selwyn, Uncle Blackie and Manu Tini- Kaewa, Tamahou, Te Ahurewa, Nataria and Dee-Jay, Rangiora Peni-Te tomo and Nataria Mann, Aunty Misa, Para Matenga, Kai-Caff-Aye, Ross Weisch, Te Pokiha and whānau Grace, Ange Tipu, Hemi and Donna Inia and Bessie Apiata.