Te Ahi Ka: The Fires of Occupation
In 1996 Toft spent six months in the middle and upper reaches of the Whanganui River in an area known as the King Country. Here he met Maori who were in the process of reversing the colonisation of their people and returning to their ancestral land, Mangapapapa which is on the steep banks of the river inside Whanganui National Park. At the end of his journey Toft was given the Maori name Pouma Pokai-Whenua. Returning twenty years later to rekindle the spiritual kinship he had experienced, Toft began to work on this book. Its narrative is situated within the context of the current Whanganui River Deed of Settlement, Ruruku Whakatupua and the projects led by local Maori to settle historical grievances with the government dating back to the 1870s.