This book offers Pakeha New Zealanders an insight into Maori thought and values and the basis for the sort of understanding and partnership that should exist between Pakeha and Maori. It also presents a new perspective from which long-held Pakeha values can be reassessed.
John Patterson as been fulsomely praised by critics and this book has been received well by Maori also. He attempts, as an investigative philosopher, to come to grips with personal, embedded limitations that inform any look into one world-view from the perspective of another.
He demonstrates in his writing a high degree of empathy with and respect for Maori and the book offers a practical model for engagement with his culture and for greater mutual understanding. Topics include Maori environmental values, values contained in the proverbs and myths, Maori virtues, reciprocity and balance, and Maori concepts of collective responsibility.