A Traveller in Two Worlds

In early 1817 Tuai, a young Ngare Raumati chief from the Bay of Islands, set off for England. He was one of a number of Māori who, after encountering European explorers, traders and missionaries in New Zealand, seized opportunities to travel beyond their familiar shores to Australia, England and Europe in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. They sought new knowledge, useful goods and technologies, and a mutually beneficial relationship with the people they knew as Pākehā.

On his epic journey Tuai would visit exotic foreign ports, mix with teeming crowds in the huge metropolis of London, and witness the marvels of industrialisation at the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire. With his lively travelling companion Tītere, he would attend fashionable gatherings and sit for his portrait. He shared his deep understanding of Māori language and culture. And his missionary friends did their best to convert him to Christianity. But on returning to his Māori world in 1819, Tuai found there were difficult choices to be made. His plan to integrate new European knowledge and relationships into his Ngare Raumati community was to be challenged by the rapidly shifting politics of the Bay of Islands.

With sympathy and insight, Alison Jones and Kuni Kaa Jenkins uncover the remarkable story of one of the first Māori travellers to Europe.

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Table of contents

Introduction: A Man Standing in a Canoe

1 Beyond the Horizon
2 The Go-Between
3 Bringing the Pākehā
4 Uneasy Friends
5 The Wide World
6 Surviving London
7 ‘The Most Extraordinary District in the World’
8 Love, Kindness and Impossible Demands
9 Leaving England
10 A Long Goodbye
11 Lessons and Lemons
12 The Return
13 Tuai’s Dilemma
14 Fear and Firepower
15 At War
16 Enter the French
17 Teaching About Māori Life

Print publication:
Ebook publication: Jul 2017
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9780947518806
DOI: 10.7810/9780947518806

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Shortlisted for the Non-fiction category of the NZ Heritage Book Awards 2017 and shortlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards (Illustrated Non-fiction) 2018!


Alison Jones at the Auckland Writers Festival, in a free, no ticket required event on Friday 18 May.


'Book Review: Tuai: A traveller in two worlds, by Alison Jones and Kuni Kaa Jenkins', Emma Johnson, The Reader: The Booksellers NZ Blog, 15 February 2018.

'Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds', Nine to Noon, RNZ, 31 January 2018.

'Review: Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds', Lyall Hakaraia, New Zealand Studies Network, 14 September 2017.

'An explorer on planet Pakeha', Ann Beaglehole, Listener​, 19 August 2017, p.54.

'Tuai’s life story of historical and national significance', Te Karere TVNZ, 10 July 2017.

'Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds', Extracts, e-Tangata, 9 July 2017.

'Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds – a new BWB Book', Scoop, 1 July 2017.

'Remarkable man and life in two cultures immortalised in a book'Northland Age, 4 July 2017.

'Northland news in brief', Northern Advocate, 29 June 2017.

'New book uncovers pre-Treaty stories of Ngare Raumati people', Maori Television, 28 June 2017.

'New book uncovers remarkable journey of young Maori man', University of Auckland, 28 June 2017.


'The handsomely illustrated book, which includes portraits that Tuai and Tītere sat for while abroad, weaves an engaging biographical narrative through the wider historical context of the first encounters between Māori and Pakeha, both here and overseas.' 
- Emma Johnston, Book Review, The Reader: The Booksellers New Zealand Blog, 15 February 2018
'The meticulous research of Jones and Jenkins (Ngati Porou), who are both professors in Maori education, has delivered a work that is insightful, scholarly and entertaining. It's a valuable book that gives Tuai the historical attention he deserves, and it sheds a somewhat subversive light on early Maori and Pakeha relations.'
- 'An explorer on planet Pakeha', Ann Beaglehole, Listener, 19 August 2017, p.54.
'told here with care and fairness' - Paul Little, Book Review, North & South, November 2017, pp.92-93.


Tuai might have forever remained a footnote in our country’s history, were it not for the diligence of Alison Jones and Kuni Kaa Jenkins. They have, in effect, breathed life into Tuai, and have given the thousands of descendants of Te Tāwheta, rangatira of Ngare Raumati and Tuai’s tupuna, an enormous sense of pride. This book is also a stark reminder of how much the tribal landscape of Te Tai Tokerau has changed.
Te Warihi Hetaraka, Ngātiwai, Ngare Raumati, Kapotai, Ngāpuhi

The story of Tuai illuminates the wider history of early Māori travels in Europe. Wonderfully written and superbly illustrated, Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds is essential reading for anyone interested in how Māori and Pākehā encountered one another in the early nineteenth century.
Vincent O’Malley, author of The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800–2000

Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds is a thrilling biographical narrative of a young Bay of Islands leader who grew up in the Māori world of the early nineteenth century – and crossed the globe to encounter England in the midst of the industrial revolution. This is a story about the Māori discovery of England. These voyages between worlds represented risk and opportunity: Tuai chose opportunity, and the rest is history.
Mānuka Henare, Associate Professor, University of Auckland