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This book is significant first and foremost because of Ans Westra’s wonderful photography. The images have been at the centre of an extensive debate about the accuracy of their portrayal of Māori life at the time (1960s). The integrity of the monochrome photographs and the images that they portray has however endured. They are technically and contextually very special. The captured moments of family life draw the reader back through the pages.
Washday at the Pa as presented here offers both a visual record and a written summary of the various conversations that have been presented since the book was first published in 1964. The two essays provide a fascinating insight into the shift in attitude toward the work over time.
Review by Barbara
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