Kite Whaiao - An Introduction to Maori Culture and Society, is intended for students of Maori studies at tertiary institutions. It is also aimed at several other audiences - those Maori who want to know more about their own world, Pakeha living in this country, and people from overseas who want to learn about the history of the Indigenous people of Aotearoa/New Zealand.
The book describes traditional and contemporary Maori society and its interaction with Pakeha society since first contact. It gives expression to the voices and words of Maori scholars and those informed by their world-view.
Emphasis has been placed on the clarification of Maori cultural concepts throughout, in order to give readers a deeper understanding of the Maori world and to excite their interest in the key themes developed throughout the text.
The book has been arranged in two parts - Part one is called Te Ao Maori (The Maori World) and examines a series of topics encompassing tribal histories about the creation, important cultural concepts, the migration journeys to Aotearoa, the origins of the Maori language, cultural traditions and practices, leadership and Maori performing and fine arts. Part two, Nga Ao a Rua (The Two Worlds) examines early contact between Maori and Pakeha, the Treaty and related issues, religion, sovereignty, education and literature, and ends with a chapter on the Pacific peoples in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
The authors include Maori, Pacific and Pakeha teachers and scholars, most of whom are academic staff of To Tumu, the School of Maori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies of the University of Otago. Other contributors are in the departments of English, History, and Political Studies at the University of Otago, in the department of Maori Studies at the University of Auckland and also those who are renowned experts in Maori fine arts.