While non-religious belief began to fully emerge in the nineteenth century, at the same time Christian missionaries invaded the Pacific Islands and effectively replaced indigenous religions with their teachings. Colonization and religion went hand in hand. In the twentieth century, as secular education and lifestyles became the norm in many nations, non-religious belief became more widespread and continues to grow as the preferred belief. However, in the Pacific Islands, it is as if time has stood still. Is there authentic Māori thought, free of both Christian and indigenous belief? Eru Hiko-Tahuri believes there is. In this book, he sketches his life of being knocked from religious pillar to religious post before finally finding the personal freedom that atheism allows. He invites his fellow Māori, Pacific Islanders, Melanesians, Aboriginals, and others, to reconsider their position. It is well past time that the human right to believe what you want and not be penalized for that is recognized in the Pacific.
This book is a lighthouse, welcoming readers to the safe port of free thought and personal individual integrity.
Copies of Eru’s book are available for $10 including postage within New Zealand.
**Please e-mail your interest to firstname.lastname@example.org including a postal address**
Review of Māori Boy Atheist by Peter Lineham:
Māori Boy Atheist is an extremely interesting little book, precisely because we rarely hear from non-believers in the Māori world, although the census tells us that they are just as common as non-religious Europeans in New Zealand. The rarity of public discussion reflects the pervasive presence of karakia on the marae and in Māori rituals (which are of course, now de rigeur on many public occasions). The author knows that he is stepping outside the accepted tikanga Māori in writing as he does. I imagine Māori will accept his statement, with some feeling that he is pushing the boundary – but I would be surprised if many Pasifika people would countenance his approach. To me the description of his early religious experiences in Wairoa, where religious groups battled it out to find acceptance among Māori is the most interesting part of the book. As a Christian reader, I thought there was a lot to learn in the way that religious debate along with youthful rebellion drove many young Māori away from religion. This is a little volume worthy of reflection.