Publisher: Auckland University Press
“Atua Wera,” described as 'one of the major poems in New Zealand literature' and Smithyman's masterpiece, is a sequence of nearly 300 poems about the nineteenth-century Nga Puhi tohunga and prophet Papahurihia. It draws on a huge range of historical and oral sources, Maori and Pakeha, and it is dense with names and voices and vivid with places and happenings. Papahurihia, or Te Atua Wera, the fiery god, was a charismatic figure and Smithyman includes rumors, reports, dreams, myths and opinions about him, none of which is conclusive: he remains mysterious, powerful, elusive. But finally this rich and complex poem is, as the poet says, 'about more than Papahurihia', a New Zealand epic for the late twentieth century.
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