Tears of Rangi: Experiments Across Worlds

Anne Salmond

Author: Anne Salmond
Format: Hardback
Pages: 512
Published: July 2017
Availability: Out of print/stock. Paperback version available.
Specs: 22.8cm x 15.2cm
ISBN: 9781869408657

Available in Ebook

Six centuries ago Polynesian explorers, who inhabited a cosmos in which islands sailed across the sea and stars across the sky, arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand where they rapidly adapted to new plants, animals, landscapes and climatic conditions. Four centuries later, European explorers arrived with maps and clocks, grids and fences, and they too adapted to a new island home. In this remote, beautiful archipelago, settlers from Polynesia and Europe (and elsewhere) have clashed and forged alliances, they have fiercely debated what is real and what is common sense, what is good and what is right.

In this, her most ambitious book to date, Dame Anne Salmond looks at New Zealand as a site of cosmo-diversity, a place where multiple worlds engage and collide. Beginning with a fine-grained inquiry into the early period of encounters between Māori and Europeans in New Zealand (1769–1840), Salmond then investigates such clashes and exchanges in key areas of contemporary life – waterways, land, the sea and people.

We live in a world of gridded maps, Outlook calendars and balance sheets – making it seem that this is the nature of reality itself. But in New Zealand, concepts of whakapapa and hau, complex networks and reciprocal exchange, may point to new ways of understanding interactions between peoples, and between people and the natural world. Like our ancestors, Anne Salmond suggests, we too may have a chance to experiment across worlds.


More about Anne Salmond


Read an extract here

Awards and Nominations

Shortlisted – 2018 Nayef Al-Rodhan prize

Shortlisted – Royal Society Te Apārangi Award for General Non-Fiction – 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards



This is an absorbing historical narrative with bigger and bolder political and ethical arguments. The book is engagingly written and a worthy successor to Salmond’s Two Worlds and Between Worlds, from which it picks up chronologically, as well as to more recent works on Cook and Bligh.

– Nicholas Thomas, University of Cambridge

This manuscript was an absolute joy to read. It engages in highly relevant and topical issues for all of us as New Zealanders. By anchoring our colonial history in contemporary issues of sovereignty and property, it has the potential to be a landmark book for Aotearoa New Zealand.

– Jacinta Ruru, University of Otago and Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga

Tears of Rangi carries a message to the thinking citizen. Have a fresh look at New Zealand society from another angle. Salmond puts forward a complete debate... This significant book has the ability to influence hope for a united future as two peoples reconcile their different views. Modern New Zealand can be transformed by greater understanding of the Māori world. 

– Sonia Edwards, NZ Booklovers