Author(s): Elsdon Best
Elsdon Best was a prolific recorder of pre-European Maori social life and material culture. His work established him as New Zealand's foremost ethnographer of Maori society.
Best based is research on rare first-hand knowledge, wide reading, informed study and discussion with Maori. His was a lifelong project underpinned by a belief that Maori were a people under threat of extinction, yet by the time of his death in 1931 Best's work had assumed new importance as it informed a Maori cultural renaissance.
Today, the Elsdon Best books are accepted as classic studies. They remain a uniquely valuable record of traditional Maori culture, social customs and beliefs.