Dr Jon Tikivanotau Jonassen at the book launch on Monday that was attended by Prime Minister Mark Brown, Queen’s Representative Sir Tom Marsters and Lady Tuaine Marsters. 21041301.
The latest volumes of Peu Maori books bring to light some of the legends of Cook Islands history and culture.
Dr Jon Tikivanotau Jonassen fittingly chanted a pe’e at the
intimate launching of his fourth volume of Peu Maori (Maori culture) books on
Monday night at The Islander Hotel.
His journey into peu Maori began when he was part of the
tumu korero exchange with the Kaumatua in New Zealand some years ago, and
engaging with tumu korero such as Ina Teiotu, Ngapare and Mapu Taia.
“I was like a sponge at the time, I’m glad I collected all
that material and wrote while I still remember it,” Dr Jonassen said.
He said he cannot write alone, “the information that I’m
trying to get out is not mine, the information that I have is a collection of
many people that I’ve met over the years”.
Twelve of his books have been released since November 2020,
an amazing feat, emboldened by Covid-19.
“I’m having a race with Covid-19, in case you’re wondering
what’s driving me”, he said, “and I want to get all that out before…”
Prime Minister Mark Brown has a collection of the books that
he reads through, looking for chants to suit particular occasions.
“It really is a source of inspiration for people like myself
to go back and have a look through, to use this information to project our
message in a much stronger way than we normally do… and I’m sure these will be
much appreciated by our wider population,” Brown said.
“It is vitally important that our tumu korero do record and
write down their knowledge and original compositions as a treasure for future
generations to learn and remember.”
The Prime Minister acknowledged Dr Jonassen’s impressive
amount of work in the past two years in documenting his personal database of
“I support and encourage you in making sure that what you do
have is recorded for future generations. These are things that will be used and
treasured by other people as well,” Brown said.
The books are distributed by Mana Heritage Publishing.
Speaking on behalf of the publishing company Dr Jonassen’s son Tamatoa said he
is happy to have been part of the journey.
“The real effort has been the amazing, talented,
knowledgeable, living legend Dr Jon Jonassen. With the great support from Raro
Printing and amazing support from the Ministry of Culture, a big thank you for
making this dream a reality,” Tamatoa Jonassen said.
Launched at the Islander Hotel, the books are: Vaiata Songs
Volume 3, which includes songs such as Kinaki Taro and other favourites; while
Cook Islands Legends Vol 2 seeks to bring to light some of the legends of our
rich history and culture.
Pe’e Tupuna Volume 3 continues with chants related to titles
and expands to chants relating to declaring and removing tapu and gives
examples of supporting or objecting investitures.
Drum Beats is the first of a three-volume series on drums
that includes the orchestration of drum beats, stage set up, and more.
More information on the books is available on Mana Heritage