About the book

The story is set in the late 1700s, about 600 years after the great canoes from the Central Pacific had arrived in New Zealand. Here in the new land off the Canoe Coast, in what is now known as the Bay of Plenty, the people settled and prospered and here Maori society reached the zenith of its power and development.

Then, as the people multiplied, the question of survival became inextricably interwoven with the concepts of mana and tribal honour. The delicately poised balance of power was easily upset so that bloody warfare, cannibalism and slavery prevailed.

This electrifying novel is now in its fifth printing and is the first NZ historical novel to be written by a Maori . It is also the first serious attempt to show pre-European Maori people as the really were.

About the author

Heretaunga Pat Baker was the eldest son of Pita Heretaunga Baker, an upoko ariki of the East Coast and Bay of Plenty, and hereditary chief of the Whakatohea in Opotiki. Through his mother he was closely connected to leading Maori families of Ngati Kahunguna in Hawke's Bay and Gisborne areas.

Pat Baker was the first Maori to be granted a university bursary to study journalism and went on to work on a number of papers in the South Island before returning north to Opotiki to farm. Later he went back south to enter 'the business world of the Pakeha'.


A sweeping story of action and suspense, Behind the Tattooed Face presents the complex web of Maori belief, tribal rituals and discipline which existed at the time of the voyages of Captain James Cook.

Also by H.P.Baker

The Strongest God

The Strongest God

Author: H.P.Baker

Paperback: 240mm x 155mm

Pages: 242

ISBN: 9780908561254

Date of Publication: October 1990

Price: $27.99