Pei Te Hurinui Jones
Dr Pei Te Hurinui Jones was a prolific writer, researcher, genealogist, politician, advisor to the kīngitanga and an influential academic scholar. His father was Daniel Lewis who was of European descent and his mother was Pare Te Koorae from Ngāti Maniapoto. His father fought in the Boer War and did not return; thus, he inherited his surname from his stepfather who was from Ngāpuhi; his name was David Jones.
Jone’s life's work is demonstrated in much of his academic work; notably, he contributed various publishing’s within the Journal of Polynesian Society (JPS). He is also the author of the well-known books Ngā Moteatea and Ngā iwi o Tainui which he co-wrote with another renowned academic scholar Bruce Biggs. Through his genealogy work he embellished the understanding of whakapapa and ngā kōrero tuku iho (stories passed down). As such was difficult for European researchers to understand and during the time Māori genealogy was criticised as most whakapapa was particularly recorded by oral tradition.
Within his whakapapa research, he primarily focused on the Tainui waka and published the book Ngā iwi o Tainui. In Jones's book Ngā iwi o Tainui it embodies and compiles his many years of researching the traditions of the many iwi of Tainui and he also collected various kōrero, karakia and chants about the ancestors of the Tainui waka.
Jones worked alongside Sir Āpirana Ngata to produce the four volumes of Ngā Moteatea; it is known as his most valuable addition to Māori literature. He provided annotations and translations to the largest and most comprehensive collection of Māori songs and chants which was gathered and recorded by Ngata. Interestingly, Jones also produced the first full translation into Te Reo Māori versions of The Merchant of Venice, Julius Caesar, and Othello by Shakespeare. With these translated versions he sought to expand literature for Māori and provide classical works for those learning Te Reo.
Influence within Te Ao Māori and relationship to collection:
Jones is an esteemed, well-respected figure and leading scholar within Te Ao Māori with his works often being referred to and utilised by academics and researchers. His commitment and efforts to contribute research and produce his works within a sphere which was led by European researchers and scholars at the time was a distinguishing achievement.
His impact and influence within Te Ao Māori are evidenced by the innumerable taonga, patu and korowai which were gifted to him as koha for all his work and are still held within his collection. Each taonga which was gifted to him affirms his importance to the Māori community and recognises the mana in which Jones holds. Jones further contributed to the collection with his own works recognised with his books, photographs, manuscripts, journals, and hand drawn takarangi spirals. Consequently, he has left behind an immense collection which solidifies his position and recognises him as a prominent Māori figure which continues to be honoured, celebrated, and acknowledged.
Biographical information compiled and written by
Ngaki Te Kare - Ruaine