Vikings of the Sunrise
by Te Rangi Hīroa (Sir Peter Buck)
Foreword by Paora Tapsell

One of the greatest accounts ever of Pacific settlement returns to print this week, with a new foreword, in our New Zealand Classics series.

Truly a masterpiece of Pacific studies, Vikings of the Sunrise  marks an attempt by the great Te Rangi Hīroa (Sir Peter Buck) to convey to a general reader ‘the settlement of Polynesia by a stone-age people who deserve to rank among the world’s great navigators.’ 

By every measure, this attempt succeeds — for the knowledge it conveys, its interweaving of legend and modern anthropology, its deep personal engagement, and the majesty of its prose. 

And it is also that rare thing, a study of Polynesia by a Polynesian, as anthropologist Paora (Paul) Tapsell notes in his new foreword: 

As a first-hand description of the Pacific of the late 1920s and early 1930s, it is essential reading, a popular work yet one compiled by a highly trained academic and sophisticated writer. 

The book ranges across the Pacific Ocean, considering the voyagers’ origins, their ships and motives for seeking new lands.

It evaluates different routes, retells myths of migration including the Māui series, recounts the author’s visits to far-flung islands and atolls, and overall establishes the ‘vikings’ of the Pacific among the greatest-ever ocean navigators.

First published in the US in 1938 (and 1958 in New Zealand), Vikings of the Sunrise is reproduced with photos and maps compiled by the author, as part of Oratia’s New Zealand Classics series.

The author

Te Rangi Hīroa (Sir Peter Buck; Ngāti Mutunga, 1877–1951) led a busy and distinguished life — variously as an MP, leader of the Young Māori party, doctor, medical officer for Māori health, anthropologist and director of the Bishop Museum, Hawai’i. He was knighted in 1946 for services to science and literature. Recognised as one of this country’s greatest sons, his best-known books are Vikings of the Sunrise and The Coming of the Maori.


Publication: 18 October 2023 | ISBN: 978-1-99-004249-2 | RRP $49.99

 Paperback, 210 x 140 mm portrait, 392 pages, b&w with photo sections